Andrea Harrell

Summer Intensive

I have always loved images and photography. I have been known to say, “I wish I could just blink and take a picture of exactly what I see with my eyes.”

I received my first camera – a Polaroid – for my tenth birthday and remember being so amazed at how the camera just shot out a photo! I walked around shooting every fabulous thing I saw. I still have all those pictures. I wish I still had the camera. I shot with film but never had any darkroom experience and would outsource all my photos. When digital appeared I was amazed, dazed, and dazzled. Although always an art student I never pursued any formal photography training. Once on my own I was concerned about having a career. Although I continued to take every creative class available; within my electives, I shelved the creative side of me for the path of healthcare. In healthcare I have done very well, but have not always been very happy. I continued to take photos in my free time and began to become more and more interested in knowing how to transform scenes I saw with my eyes into great photos.

Then, I found an RMSP catalog. I hung onto it for a year. A photography school located in one of my favorite places, where I also happen to have ties, intrigued me. Then another catalog came and I started a collection. I continued to take photos thinking about wanting to know more. Two years later I took a Photo Weekend with RMSP. That was in the fall of 2012, and that is all it took. A brief two months later I was signed up for Summer Intensive.

Oh the joys of Summer Intensive! Oh the memories! Oh the laughter! I have never so willingly stayed up until the wee hours of the morning so totally engrossed in an assignment for a class in my life. Luckily Missoula, in addition to being a great place to live, has amazing coffee! I have loved Summer Intensive. It has helped me rediscover a part of myself that is true to my soul. Having always been a creative person, Summer Intensive helped reignite my creative fire for photography and art. I now have the technical skills and ability to make great images, and transform what my eyes see to something I can show others. I have faced creative and personal challenges during the program, which the faculty and staff have been amazing at helping me through with their thoughtful guidance. The friendships I have made here I hope to keep forever. My aspiration is to have my work published and to spend the rest of my life making amazing images as a professional photographer. Summer Intensive and the RMSP family have given me the skills to move forward and do just that.