Anna Lopez

My biggest fear as a kid growing up was never finding that one thing that gave me purpose, and if I did find it would I be good enough? I walked through most of my adolescence with this mindset. On my 17th birthday I found myself at (no judgment) a Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots concert. It was then that I realized music was where I belonged, I wanted that overwhelming feeling of passion and inspiration to follow me everywhere I went. I wanted to be apart of something bigger than me.

From then on that's what I did. I made it a point to dedicate all my free time towards shooting shows; mostly in the pop-punk scene and saving up for better gear. The passion I have for photography never derived from my grandfather's film camera or a high school dark room. It's been a long, organic process fueled by the art of creation and entertainment. After graduating high school a semester early I decided to attend community college for an associates degree in photography That lasted two weeks. I had this burning desire to learn everything I possibly could, but community college was not the way. I needed something that would push me by allowing me to embrace my independence and create my own path. That's when I found Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

After hours and hours of research and stressing out about the fact that I had just stopped going to literally all of the college courses I was enrolled in, I was put in a tough spot. Go back to college or pray for the best and somehow, somehow come up with the funds for this magical place in the middle of Montana. My prayers were answered in a heartbreaking yet beautiful manner, and for that I am forever grateful. Just like that my life was changed forever. Most of my belongings were sold or donated, and the remaining items were packed up into a red, two door ford escort. I said goodbye to my friends and family and left what I then knew to be home: St. Louis, Missouri.

RMSP has made me the person that I am today. Sure, it taught me everything I needed to get my hands and mind wrapped around the technical and business knowledge of photography. But, that's not what makes someone a photographer. It's the experience and the passion that will take you further than a pen and paper can. Thank you for showing me that. This school has encapsulated what I know to be my "college experience" and first time living on my own in a new city where I don’t know a soul. Disclaimer: living on your own on a budget for the first time can be a bit…unconventional….let's leave it at that.

RMSP, you are my home. Since leaving Missoula I've placed myself in the city where dreams go to either sink or swim: Los Angeles, California. I'm not doing big budget commercial shoots for Vogue or plastering Lady Gaga in latex all over Sunset Boulevard yet….yet. But, I am doing something that would have taken me years to do had I not taken that initial leap to Missoula. I'm following my bliss. I'm interning at Milk Studios, and assisting on those big budget commercial shoots for photographers who's work I've admired since I picked up a camera. If I've learned anything it's that all it takes is that initial leap. Leap to what feels true to you and if you can't follow the rules, make your own.

See Anna's work at www.annamarialopez.com