Happy Friday! We’ve experienced quite the heat wave the week here in The District, but I’m happy that it’s finally starting to cool down. As this feature continues to grow on my blog, I am so grateful for the new friendships I’m building with my fellow millennials. This week’s spotlight is a young man that was introduced to his artistic talent at an early age, but didn’t realize his gift until he was in college. He says that it took some trial, error, and even a little bit of time away to figure out what it was that he really wanted to do in his career; but once he re-discovered his passion, the view was picture perfect.
I’d like for you to meet Gary Williams.
Gary began his collegiate journey as a student-athlete at Delaware Tech, playing basketball and majoring in Industrial Engineering. When he soon realized that career path wasn’t for him, he took some time to refocus before enrolling into Wilmington University and taking graphic design and interactive media courses. “I was always drawing and doing those artsy things as a kid, so I thought I’d give it a go,” he says. “After one semester I realized this was what I wanted to do.” Through his multimedia courses, Gary was introduced to all areas of media, but it was the study of photography that truly fueled his love for imagery. “I’ve always been a visual person, so when I was able to really study the camera and learn how it works, my whole world opened up.” In addition to discovering his passion for imagery, Gary was also lucky enough to continue playing basketball on scholarship at Wilmington — an experience that was unforgettable. “Although I sometimes wish I had known what I wanted to do from the jump, I’ve learned it’s not always that easy,” Gary says. “It’s a journey, and journeys often hold detours, reroutes, road blocks, and break downs; but in the end you realize every thing that took place lead you to your destination.”
On the moment he discovered his gift, and from where he draws inspiration:
Growing up my dad had a Konica Minolta that I used to always play with and shoot with on vacations or just around the house. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, just pointing and shooting anything — but that’s where the love began. It wasn’t until college that I realized I had a gift. I took an intro to photography class and began to learn how the camera works and how to compose an image and how to control light; my life changed. I begin to shoot as much as possible logging out the school cameras on the regular. I loved every bit of it. Even still I just thought I was decent at taking photographs, nothing special. My realization of my gift came through the confirmation of people around me. People responded to my images and even my professors and peers respected my work. It was at that moment I began to realize God had placed this gift in me. My inspiration comes from so many things. One is creation. What a beautiful land we live in. God has created such great imagery around us and all one needs to do is pause and take it in. I try to do this daily for inspiration. I am also inspired by my peers and other photographers. Seeing other great works, greater than mine, is the most inspiring to me and also challenging. If we are not challenged, we cannot grow — and true inspiration should spark growth. But of course, I draw inspiration from media: magazines, blogs, print ads, film, and so on.
In this booming age of technology, Gary appreciates the power of social media and has taken full advantage of the various photo sharing platforms to showcase his photography. “I think it’s great,” he says. “It has definitely helped me tremendously with gaining clientele and exposure, and made it easier to share my work.” And while he does believe that it’s true what they say about our generation being a tad bit narcissistic, he doesn’t think social media tools are necessarily to blame. “Naturally we are born selfish. Selflessness is really something that has to be learned — it’s a discipline,” he says. ” To some selflessness comes easy, but to most I think it has to be developed and effort must be put into seeing beyond oneself. With that being said I don’t have a problem with a little bit of confidence in oneself. That is healthy, but we have to be careful not to go overboard and miss the bigger picture.”
On Gary’s personal website, you will find a variety of images and videos that showcase his eclectic portfolio of work. “I started in photography and just recently started working in video within the last 3 years,” he says. “I honestly love both, but my first love will always be photography.” While he’s working on capturing that image that renders him speechless, he has shot a number of photographs that have put a smile on his face or cause him to pause for a minute. He is also fortunately to have a job that is pretty relaxed and flexible that allows him to tend to my website and brand regularly. “Finding balance is not difficult for me. And although I do not update my site as much as I should, but I am working on that.”
When he hears the phrase “Millennial on a Mission”, it is the word mission that stands out to him the most. “When a soldier is given a mission he is trusted to go out and execute that mission and come back successful. But before that soldier gets to that first mission, there is preparation that takes place.” Gary believes that preparation is essential for success. He does his best to stay as prepared as possible so when opportunities arise, he can take advantage of them immediately. If he were to give any advice to young artists/entrepreneurs, it would be to remain faithful to your passion and to your gift. “God did not give it to you to be wasted or to be halfhearted about it. If you give it your all it will return the favor. Dreams are worked into existence, they don’t just happen.”