A few days ago, I was at my parent's house and my mom reminded me that in between studying abroad, graduating college, and getting married, I'd failed to ever really go through and organize all of my belongings. My childhood bedroom was overflowing like a Museum dedicated to Jada.
I went up there to take a look around.It was filled with records, diaries, piles of out-dated clothes, and who knows what else. In one corner though, I came across all of my photography materials from highschool and college. It sent me down memory lane big time! I found old film and negatives, extra paper, matt board, my notebooks..but most importantly my final projects from both high school and college.
Looking at all of those old photos that I'd worked so hard on gave me a huge sense of nostalgia but mostly left me thinkg "WOW. I used to be so bad." It's amazing how far my photography path has taken me. It's a passion I've had since I was 15 years old but something I never imagined I'd still be doing 10 years later.
Taken in 2006 by Jada Parrish
I took my first photo class when I was a sophmore in high school at Trinity Episcopal School. I remember how amazed I was when I saw my first photo develop under the red lights of the dark room. I was hooked. Throughout the rest of my high school career, photography became a huge creative and emotional outlet for me. It became a way I identified myself.
When it came time to decide on a college, I knew that access to a photography program was going to be the deciding factor for me. I had my heart set on going to the University of Virginia and was thrilled to be accpeted but was told first year students weren't allowed to take photography classes. That crushed me.
My stubborn little high school self emailed the head of the photography department and asked to set up a meeting with him to review my portfolio. My mom drove me all the way to Charlottesville, and my persistence paid off. I was the only first year admitted into the photography program at UVA for the Fall of 2008.
I took photography classes all four years at UVA. I ended up declaring it my major and getting a bachelor's degree in studio art with a concentration in photography and a minor in media studies.
The funny thing is everything we did with photography at UVA was in film. Everything. I learned to shoot with both medium format and large format film cameras as well as a number of experimental photographic processes. I'd never shot with a digital camera. I thought digital photography was a complete waste of time and should never be taken as seriosuly as film. It turns out the joke was on me.
After I graduated from UVA and was trying to figure out what to do with my life, David bought me my first DSLR. It was a canon 7d. At first I wasn't really sure what to think of it, but once we started experimenting and taking photos we both fell in love with it. We began to take all kinds of photos just for fun, and before we knew it we had friends asking us to take photos for them. They told their friends and J&D Photography eventually formed. Fast forward 3 years, and here we are today.
It blows my mind how far I've come since developing that first photo. Seeing all those old photos...some of which actually made me want to cringe...really reminded me that it takes a ton of time, discipline, and practice to master any skill. So if you've just started something new and are feeling frustrated with the results, stick with it.
I can't believe how much my photography skillset has gown over these past 10 years, and I'm incredibly excited to see where it is 10 years from now.