People ask me all the time about my start in photography, and how I came up with the name Dash. The story is very connected to me and my journey as a human, so I always enjoy sharing. I graduated from college with a degree in physical education and psychology. I was hoping to do some sort of sports therapy and work with athletes and families within that industry. I was interested in the hobby of photography, but as a sports lover I figured that’d be the direction I’d go. It’s crazy to me that we have to figure out what we want do with our whole life at the age of 18 (I still thought a box of kraft mac n cheese was a sufficient dinner).
I moved to Colorado the day after graduating college and two weeks after a significant and tragic death in my family. I spent the next several months working through grief, and as God began healing different areas of my heart, I also began to have some clarity. I started shooting more (I had a cute little Canon Rebel), and fell in love with the art of photography while in Colorado. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to find inspiration in the Rockies. I took my camera with me while my friends and I snowboarded, went to the XGames, and just lived life in Vail.
On a visit home to Atlanta, I stopped by the cemetery for the first time since the funeral. I was thinking about everything that little dash on the stone between his birthdate and death date represented: the laughter, the quiet moments, the conversations, the inside jokes, the memories, the impact. In that moment, I knew whatever path I was headed down, I would remember the significance of the Dash. As I continued to work through the direction I wanted to go, I knew I wanted to be a part of capturing the Dash—the in-between, our given time. I wanted to be able to freeze memories so when people looked back at their lives or their children’s lives, they could relive the joy and celebration and happiness of monumental moments in time. I also wanted to give people tangible evidence of their legacy.
It took me a while to get there though. My first paid gig was actually a pro MMA fight. You know ultimate fighting in the cages? Yep, I spent a year traveling around the southeast shooting those events. THAT is a whole different world, but I really did love the excitement and adrenaline rush. I grew up watching the sport, so photographing it came pretty naturally. The transition from mixed martial arts to weddings is a little blurry. I’m not real sure how to explain it to people, but those two events are more similar than you think. 😂 While shooting MMA, it didn’t take long for me to get frustrated and feel unsettled because I didn’t feel I was having the impact and influence I believed God created me for. (I also like to think my art is a little like Kelly Clarkson's songwriting...it was full of angst and attitude, then I met my husband and it was all cupids and Pepe le Pew (you know the one).) That’s when the transition to weddings, and eventually seniors, began taking place.
If I could give a college student (or young adult) advice who is struggling to find direction and purpose, it would be 1) be patient, and 2) try to step back and view the events (really good and really bad) in your life as more than just circumstances. View them as stops on a road map, and try to figure out how they connect to get you where you’re suppose to be going. If you can look at these moments objectively, and not just as emotional experiences, you can usually figure out how it’s shaping you into the person you’re suppose to be AND giving you the tools to do the work only YOU were created to do. There ya have it. What are some key events in your story? I really would love to hear how you got started OR where you think you’re headed!