Part 2

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.”        – Michael Jordan
ash-graduation

Fast forward to the end of our BA in Psychology, we gradjuminated. So now what? I went out in search of a job as a photographer. I had no background or formal training, just what I was teaching myself at the time. A local photographer was hiring an assistant and I applied for the job. I was told “you are too quiet to be a photographer”. Ashley and I took jobs in a factory while we searched and applied for other jobs. It was 2009, we were in a recession, and life pretty much sucked.

This was a dark time.

 

At one point I was working two jobs, one at night in a factory and one during the day. Every bit of free time I had was used to research and learn photography.
Out of nowhere a local photographer named Shelly Mosley asked if we could help shoot a wedding after seeing some of the images I had on my “Myspace”. We agreed and shot the wedding together with our two Canon Rebel whatevers and some used speedlights.
It was the first time we realized photography could be a career. In fact I had never imagined working as a creative or being paid for it. All my life I was brought up thinking art was a dead end. I always had a passion for the arts, but never considered it as a career choice. Shelly continued to mentor us and offered more shoots as well. We kept working through the summer and started doing shoots for free.

Ashley and I shot our first wedding together for free.

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There was so much uncertainty coming out of college. We were in a recession. You don’t start businesses during recessions. Our families didn’t understand why we wanted to quit our factory jobs and work for ourselves. I had no photography education. I had no formal training. Only what I was slowly teaching myself.
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At the time I was recording music under the moniker “To The Roof”. We just carried that over to our business name. There was no thought of it actually sticking and being a successful business. We were very naive.
We posted fliers around our college campus. We made a Facebook page. We started getting inquiries for weddings, families, high school seniors…..
We were at a crossroads. Stick with our factory job or quit and fall into the never ending abyss of darkness that would swallow us up and ruin our lives FOREVER!!!!!!!!!
At least that’s how people around us made it sound.

If I could go back to that time, I would tell my former self, “Who cares? If it doesn’t work out there are plenty of other crappy jobs to be had.” I was in my early 20’s. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Take risks.

Despite the wishes of our families we quit our 3rd shift factory jobs. I still had a part time job that brought in a small income, and we set out to do the unthinkable.
I was crazy for quitting my factory job and “playing a photographer” as my dad put it. I’ll never forget that.
It still drives me to this day.

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