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Find Inspiration at the Cultural Arts Alliance Photography Workshop

December 14, 2014 by Audrey Johnson

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County is currently hosting photographer Jackie Ward during a series of workshops on the Fundamentals of Photography at the serene and beautiful Bayou Arts Center. The photography workshop is perfect for individuals looking to hone their skills while searching for some outside-the-box inspiration.

In addition to running her successful photography business, Jackie has also taught several photography and Photoshop classes as part of the Prime Time Curriculum at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College. When the Cultural Arts Alliance workshop committee needed an instructor to teach a photography class due to popular demand from their members, they invited Jackie to share her knowledge.

“I think I learn as much teaching each class as I probably do in explaining photography fundamentals.  I love people and think that we all bring so much to the table when the creative juices get going,” Jackie said.

And when she’s not mentoring others along their photography journeys, Jackie is out capturing life’s special moments, whether it be her boys’ baseball tournaments, a bride and groom’s first kiss as husband and wife or the sleepy gaze of a newborn baby.  

“I love doing weddings! I don't know that I have ever had a difficult bride and love when over the years they come back to the beach to vacation and I get to meet all the kids.  Wedding days are fast and the lighting is constantly changing, but the challenge is so much fun.  I end up spending more time with the bride on a wedding day than just about anyone else, so it truly is an honor to have someone ask me to document their wedding,” Jackie said.

Photography is often thought of as an art, but after taking Jackie’s class I gained a new perspective. It dawned on me that the camera is a fascinating instrument rooted in science and full of possibilities. Mistakes can become beautiful works of art, simply by capturing something as immeasurable as emotion. To get there, you have to understand your camera, and the Bayou Arts Center is an idyllic location to go in search of education and inspiration.

Students would be hard pressed to find another location as beautiful and welcoming as the Bayou Arts Center. The classroom itself is an open room with large windows that let in lots of light and glimpses of the surrounding landscape dominated by tall pines and green scrub bushes.

A short walk down a worn path leads to a bridge that jumps over a small inlet of the ever-present Hogtown Bayou that borders the property. Tucked down an adjacent path, you’ll find a small blue chapel and a real life pet cemetery that’s almost as creepy as Stephen King’s on a cloudy day-if you get creative with your white balance. My guess is you bury your own.

The Fundamentals of Photography workshop is being offered as a series, or students can opt to take individual classes. Classes are three hours long, with blocks of time dedicated to reviewing the basics, learning new information and practicing new skills. Jackie’s class is expected to be offered during the next wave of workshops to be announced at a later date. Please visit www.culturalartsalliance.com/classes to view upcoming workshops and call 850-622-5970 to register.


The Bayou Arts Center is the home of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and a venue for art exhibits, art workshops, meetings, reunions and small events. Nestled among the long leaf pines on historic Hogtown Bayou, the Bayou Arts Center is a true Walton County hidden gem and a peaceful destination for art, culture, heritage and nature. For more information, to sign up for a class, or to become a member, please visit www.culturalartsalliance.com


Audrey Johnson's picture

Upon realizing that life is too short not to follow her dreams, Audrey moved to the beach and became a writer. SoWal’s pristine beaches inspire her to explore further, look deeper, and do better.

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