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Heather Voss

Where do you work, and what do you do in your current occupation?

Currently, I am a photographer at Heather Voss Photography where I specialize in producing photographs of seniors, couples, corporate events, weddings and fine art. In addition, I work for School Days Photography. Although I wear a few hats at School Days, I primarily work as an editor. School Days Photography specializes in studio portraiture of children and families through all stages of life.  

What do you enjoy about your current to occupation? Do you consider yourself successful? In what way?

I truly enjoy the people aspect of my occupation. I love that as a photographer it is my job to get to know someone so I can reflect someone’s story and true self in an image. The look on people’s faces when I have captured them just right is the equivalent to seeing presents on Christmas morning. With that in mind, I think my success a photographer is based on that- the lives I touch and smiles I make. I have been published in Paula Deen’s magazine, I’ve had art work displayed in international and national art shows, and I’ve been featured in Voyage Magazine but none of that success truly compares to the feeling of directly causing a person’s smile. Any person can walk up to someone and take a picture, but not every person can walk up to someone and create pure joy in their picture. 

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What led you to pursue your current line of work?

My love for the lost art of film photography led me to pursue my line of work. I started off my photography career in a high school 35mm film class. Learning how to develop film and print my own images, taught me the true magic of photography that inspired me to keep going.   

Do the skills and knowledge that you gained as a student in the Department of Visual Arts (DoVA) contribute to your current occupation? If so, in what way?

The knowledge I gained from my time at the University of North Georgia has helped me tremendously in my career. One of the most beneficial things I learned is the ability to take criticism. As an artist with many artist friends, I think it is safe to say that the mental game is a large part of what makes or breaks a person’s career. In the art world people can be very harsh and it can deter you from becoming the artist you truly want to be. At UNG we often had constructive art critiques to not only to help us with our physical art but to also help us with our artist mindset. These critiques helped me to see that everyone has an opinion of my work however; I should never let those opinions dictate my worth as an artist.  

 

Artwork by Heather Voss

Now that you have a vantage point to reflect on your art education, what would you do differently?

Now that I am able to reflect on my education, the only thing I would do differently would be to explore the business side of art. The biggest struggle I have faced is how to create a successful photography business. There really is no how to run a business 101 book out there for artists. Therefore, I strongly encourage current art students to take business classes and talk to their professors about the importance of knowing how to run an art business. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for current DoVA students?

There are so many things I would like to say to the current art students at UNG. If I had to pick one piece of advice it would to let your personality flourish in your art. Your twenties are a pivotal point in your life where you can choose to become who you want to be. Don’t waste your time trying to fit a mold that you don’t fit in. Photography is very competitive and it can be easy to conform to what “sells” to make money. But I want people to be able to say, “Hey that looks like a Heather Voss photograph!” not “Hey that looks like a pretty photograph I saw before!”  Let your art reflect your true self.   

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