Kelly Taylor — Ohio
Course: Career Training 2011
When I told people I was quitting my job to attend photography school, I got two reactions. Most people
were excited. Others, however, said something along the lines of this: Since when do you want to be a
photographer? And Montana? There are bears in Montana. And you don’t even eat beef. But I am ready
for so much more than my quiet life. I am ready for an adventure, a new place outside of my comfort zone.
I first stumbled upon RMSP’s website while looking for a photography workshop. I needed, desperately, to
get away from a job that I had once loved but had since consumed my life and my happiness. As I searched,
the “Career Training” tab always loomed at the top of the page. I was afraid to click on it. I was afraid
I might love it, and, as I told myself, I didn’t have time for that, and it’s not like I wanted to be a
professional photographer anyway.
Or did I?
Once the idea struck, it consumed me. I realized that, since taking a photography class in college, I had
begun to see everything through the lens of a camera; everything I was passionate about could be communicated
through my camera.
I type this now, a week before I leave, without a plan or really any idea where this program might lead me.
Though I feel like I should be afraid, I’m not. I just know deep down that this is the next step for me, and
I’m ready to be thrown into whatever the program or Montana has to offer. As Mark Twain once advised, I’m
ready to “throw off the bowlines” and “sail away from the safe harbor.” Here’s to what I hope will be some
of the best five months of my life.
When I think back to the day I arrived at the Missoula airport, I find it hard to comprehend just how much I
have changed. I knew that coming to RMSP would make me a better photographer, and it has but not in the way
I expected. The lectures have been invaluable, but there’s something more that happens beyond the walls of
the classrooms. To say that RMSP allows you to put everything in life on hold and focus solely on photography
may be a slightly false statement, for in reality RMSP allows you to focus on something deeper and gives you
the space to discover a part of yourself that was hidden before. It happened somewhere between the group
outings, the hikes, the early morning drives through Montana wilderness to see the sunrise that I was able
to find myself and really began to understand why I came to RMSP in the first place, and it was those moments
that made my photography change more than anything.
RMSP gave me the knowledge I needed, the skills and techniques I couldn’t have gained elsewhere, and then gave
me the time and space I needed to find the true photographer inside of me. Though my journey here is not yet
over, I already feel grateful to RMSP for helping me figure out how I see the world and helping me translate
that vision into my photography.