Todd Ford — Alabama
Course: Career Training 2011
My journey to Missoula and the Rocky Mountain School of Photography has been over three years in the making
but truly began when a friend showed me the work he had done during his time at RMSP. Having always been
fascinated with photography, I was immediately taken with the stunning images. The seed was planted for my
eventual cross-country journey to the Big Sky country.
Growing up in a household of very modest means, creative outlets were always a guilty pleasure. I can’t
really remember when I discovered photography as an expressive channel. One day I just started taking pictures
as a way to catalogue my memories but I noticed my pictures were not a very accurate representation of those
memories. I desired more.
As I was retiring from the Marine Corps I knew the moment was right to re-exert my long-stifled creative self
and undertake this transformative journey. My excitement for this journey is tempered only by my desire to be
open to the process and grow on many different levels. I’m confident I will grow personally, professionally,
and artistically. Given the exceptional level of instruction at RMSP I have no doubt my modest goal of more
accurately recording my memories will be eclipsed beyond measure. My hopes and expectations are simple - just
be a better photographer.
I’m confident my summer in Missoula will do just that.
Initially I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” Well, what I got myself into was one of the most
rewarding experiences of my life.
When I arrived at Rocky Mountain School of Photography I quite literally did not know how to use my camera
on anything other than Program Mode, which is the way I had been shooting film for years. To say I was a
novice would be a mild understatement. My modest personal goal was to become a technically proficient
photographer. Just learn how to take really good pictures. What I got was so much more.
The amazing, in-depth instruction coupled with the beautiful wilds of Montana proved to be an idyllic location
to learn the art of photography. I never thought of myself as an artist before now and was reluctant to at first.
However, I soon began to explore and understand my interpretation of art. What I chose to capture, in camera,
was my vision of the art I wanted to create. Whether it was a blade of grass or a beautiful sunset over a
Yellowstone geyser, it was my creation made possible by time at RMSP. Taking pictures transformed from just
recording a scene to experiencing life in a new and exciting way. A way I had never considered before.
What I got myself into was a great photography education and a whole new set of friends. Both of which will
continue to drive my newfound passion for the art of photography.