Pickens Technical College’s Photography Pathway: Inspiration from a Young, Amateur Photographer
In Pickens Technical College’s Photography program, you’ll not only learn how to use both digital and film cameras, but you’ll also learn how to draw inspiration from the world around you. That might be the most important thing to learn. As a photographer, it will be your job to capture the world in ways that your viewers have never seen before. You’ll have to find small moments that others don’t see, angles and light hidden from the view of the layperson. Learning what to put in the frame and what to leave out is a key photography skill that takes years for most to master.
One thing that all photographers have in common is the burning desire to capture moments and spaces, large and small, on film (or SD card). The fascination with image and the need to capture images is what unites all photographers, young and old.
This need is recognizable in all photographers, especially a very young amateur photographer named Storee Elle Walton, who, last September, photographed the 30th annual Heritage Classic football game and halftime show in Memphis.
She’s six years old.
Storee started setting lofty goals for herself when she was three years old. She set her sights on photographing a black college football game. It was then that she asked her mother Tanyel, who graduated from Tennessee State University, if she could take pictures with her phone at football games. After a couple of years, she was granted access to take pictures at the 2018 Heritage Classic, but a lightning storm canceled the game.
This year, Storee and her grandfather, professional photographer Thurman Hobson, (who also bought Storee her first professional-grade Nikon camera), patrolled the sidelines with the usual gang of photographers snapping pictures of the action.
“Photography makes me happy, and doing everything my grandman teaches me to do is so much fun,” Storee said. “The band was my favorite part. All of the people were nice, and other photographers took pictures of me.”
Storee was repeatedly asked by members of the school bands, the cheerleaders, and others on the sidelines to take pictures of them. In spite of the 48,000 fans who packed the Liberty Bowl Stadium in wet, 90-degree heat, Storee took over 600 photographs in all. Her parents posted her best work on her Instagram account. Believe it or not, this was not Storee’s first paid photography gig. When she was five, she earned $25 for photographing a father and son at her church.
Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Storee’s extremely fast rise into professional photography shows that when you have the support of experienced teachers and professionals, you can hone your talent and break into a professional role.
Pickens offers you the chance to gain from the experience of Photography instructor Erik Schubert, who’s been a professional photographer for 16 years and an instructor for 10. You don’t have the advantage of having Thurman Hobson at your side, but you can find opportunities by using Schubert’s teachings and advice in the photography game.