“So basically, I need to make sure you are able to travel and attend an overnight trip on the evening of your first day. Lol…no biggie :)”
I was finishing my last shift at my retail job of five years. Sitting in the office, waiting for the time to pass, I laughed to myself when I read the email from Jon Abrahams (my boss starting the next day), because of course it was okay. No doubt I was so excited for the opportunity that I have been given. Finally I’d be putting my degree to good use. Finally, I would be working with other creatives and helping them produce content. Finally, I wouldn’t be working the same 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. shift every day… I’d be part of an actual crew, learning and taking in all they can teach me through solid hands-on experience.
Hey, what’s up! My name is Savannah Heller and I’d like to introduce myself as the newest intern here at Jpixx. I am a graduate of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Digital Photography as of this year! Moving into photography and marketing is a much needed change of pace and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with a crew that understands that.
For years, I have kept a camera in my hands at all times. Among shooting a daily photo with my Polaroid camera, capturing funny and candid images on my phone, and creating content with my DSLR, I find sharing my experiences one of my favorite things to do. From the beginning I’ve been a storyteller and because I wanted to be more than just a writer, I chose to dive into the world of photography and cinematography, so I could tell these stories I would create all in a single photo.
Here’s a little example of what I mean by my “Cinematic Portraits”!
Coming from a childhood where my father documented everything on his Polaroid camera, I always had those to look back on, memories of me in my older brother’s arms, my mother holding me with sunglasses and a leather jacket on, my father smiling, proudly holding the horns of a deer he brought home, and endless memories of me getting into things I shouldn’t have. However, Polaroid film was unavailable from the year 2008 to 2017 due to chemical issues in the product, which means some of the key points in my life were missed with the disappearance of the instant camera. As September 2017 hit, Polaroid Originals released the Impossible Project Polaroid One Step 2, which had the capability to capture the traditional size Polaroid photos that half my life had been registered on. So I bought my own, saying, “there may be nine years I missed, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss more”. And yes, I still love Cheerios a lot.
I was invited to shadow Alec and Jon covering the Festevents Norfolk In-Water Boat Show, and I hit the ground running. I picked up my ol’ reliable Canon T5i and I grabbed images the best way I knew how. Given that I came out of school with the brand of a portrait photographer, I was somewhat out of my element when I began event coverage. Tight quarters, hot sun, lots of people, and a perfectionist complex had me feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. But as the day progressed, I realized that I could get the hang of it. Jon was very helpful when he snagged my camera and sifted through to give me feedback as I was going. It’s a very proactive way to make sure that I was getting moments that we could use, and obtain constructive criticism that assists me with future shoots.
Monday came and we traveled to Roanoke, VA to show off ESI’s Open House event and I learned that we not only work hard, but we play hard as well. I was able to get to know Jessa and Jon better and find a good workflow in shooting with them (even if we did get lost in the woods hiking after dark!). I have always felt a thrill for the art of chaos burying itself deep within a schedule, knowing that change is always on the horizon. The way that plans morph and bend into something else over the course of the day keeps me on my toes and keeps me focused. Flexibility hiding in commitment is exactly the place I want to be; that place is where creativity thrives.
From the beginning, I traveled from Roanoke to Richmond to the “Three Murders in Manhattan” set in our office, up to Delaware and Pennsylvania, finishing the week in Virginia Beach, where we covered the Neptune Festival. After all of that adventure, I was able to grab some fun captures!
I woke up thrilled on Saturday to help cover the 46th annual Neptune Festival. My team was all drenched in sweat and I reeked of sunscreen by only two hours, but the parade made it all so worth it. Having my DSLR in one hand and my phone in the other for some BTS, I saw the faces of children feeling like princes and princesses, band members representing their beloved schools, and adults in costumes who looked into my camera and a big smile burst from their excitement. The heat was burdensome, but the emotions and thrill of the crowd made everything essential, watching people so happy to get in front of a camera. Weaving through the massive crowds surrounding the vendors, running through the sand to get the best shots of the beach volleyball competition, interviewing people enjoying the event, making sure the coverage was everything it needed to be, had us exhausted. But as we sat in the back of a golf cart to carry us to the next hot spot, I held my camera close and I took a breath of the fresh sea air, and turned my head up to the sky. In that moment I felt all the life that working retail had drained out of me return in one single gust of wind. In that moment, I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be. I’m excited for the days and experience resting in the future that this internship will bring.