As I entered the Artists For Humanity building, I sat down, got comfortable and waited for my interview. I looked around and saw many unique paintings surrounding me on the walls made by teens. Among those teens, Justice Wellington stood out among her peers with her photography.
Artist For Humanity is a non-profit organization that employs teen artists and designers to explore and express their creative abilities. Wellington has been working at AFH for two summers now in the photography department. Wellington says, “I haven’t put myself in the box to say that I’m only a photographer.” She has other interests too, such as becoming a criminal justice lawyer or forensic scientist.
Ever since Wellington joined AFH, not only have her skills in photography improved but in other areas as well. AFH has improved her confidence. “Working here encouraged me to be myself because there are a lot of artistic people around it kind of showed me that there’s more to just being in this box. It helped me become more creative.”
Wellington first wanted to start pursuing photography because that’s what she grew up with — her mother was a photographer. “When she was my age she did photography and stuff like that, so I chose to do photography.” Wellington’s interest in photography stemmed from her desire to discover her true self through the art form. She had learned a bit of things about photography when she was younger and was interested in learning more about it and how to work the camera.
As much as she likes photography, there are still some challenges. “My least favorite part was learning the camera itself. It was very hard.” Wellington says that it’s the intricate things that she’s trying to improve on with photography, including editing, camera handling, and the settings she should use for certain photos. However, there are still more things she likes about photography than dislikes. She loves “capturing the moment.” As an artist, she wants to capture an image that everyone can see and enjoy.
Wellington’s journey as a photographer is helping her find herself and finding out what other things she’s interested in doing. She sometimes finds herself feeling as if she has to be someone else to succeed, but she doesn’t want that. She doesn’t want to follow any type of photography trend. Wellington wants to stand out among other photographers, but it’s hard to stand out “because a lot of people are like me; they have a creative mind.” It may be hard to stand out, but Wellington’s use of her imagination in her photography is getting her there.
Wellington mainly directs her canon camera at nature-related subjects, but she doesn’t want to limit herself to a single subject. She wants to capture a photo of anything that catches her eye or anything that she likes. Put simply, “when I see something I take a picture of it.” She may like doing photography, but she imagines it more as a side hustle. She is more interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice., though her photography skills might serve her in forensic scientist since they need clear and good evidence of the crime scene.
Her advice for any younger photographers or people who are looking to be photographers full time are “Be yourself…No one, no one, no one, no one should ever shake your idea of certain things…There’s someone out there that’s hating no matter how good it is. It’s just like there’s gonna be people that hate so be confident in the skills that you have.” Wellington also warns people who are trying to get into photography to know that it’s a lot of work. There’s so much to learn about it. But if you like photography that much, just go for it.