I am so excited to announce our first ever Inspiring 20Something!
This week, we will be featuring the incredibly talented Joel Eriksson.
At 24-years-young, Joel works as a full-time photographer, spreading his talent and positivity from bewitching beaches to our personal screens. His vibrant shots focus on blue skies, bluer waters, and beautiful bikinis.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joel about his journey, and I can’t imagine speaking with someone more down to earth, passionate about what they do, or open-minded.
As a college athlete, playing soccer at the University of West Florida, Joel suffered an unfortunate shoulder injury. Through his own experience with physical therapy, he was inspired to pursue a study in exercise science. Like so many who start down a certain path, though, he realized it didn’t actually seem made for him at that time in his life.
So how does a college athlete with an exercise science degree transition into a talented photographer? He claims to have “fallen into photography” when a friend asked for his help with a clothing brand he had started. Since he was “decent with a GoPro,” he took some shots, and fell in love with the art.
He also drew inspiration from the days he spent working on the beach during college. Being out on the beautiful beaches of Florida four times a week, he realized how much he loved being outside, and being creative with the natural elements like the ocean and the sand.
Joel says it’s been difficult to get into the industry in today’s day and age, when everyone has an iPhone in their pocket, but he feels blessed to have connected with other photographers. Keeping an open mind, he was able to learn a lot from them. With such consumer friendly products and an overwhelming number of people with a similar dream, it can seem almost impossible to stand out, but Joel’s spirit and passion shine through each of his photographs, and his raw, natural talent is undeniable.
Being a 20something with a unique vision isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to earning the support of those around you. Joel says his mom has always supported anything he wanted to do, including his photography, but his dad was a bit harder to convince. Like many parents, he worried whether his son would be able to support himself and a family simply by doing what he loves. He says his dad wanted to bring him back to reality, at times, something I think many 20somethings have experienced for themselves.
What I think we can learn from Joel, though, is that sometimes it’s about showing others your reality.
This 24-year-old photographer has worked hard to prove his talent, and has persevered through the day to day struggle of being a business owner. In an industry like this, where so little is guaranteed, Joel claims, “you have to make your own consistency.”
Joel especially enjoys shooting people and aerial shots at the beach.
He says, “I was lucky enough to get into shooting swimwear and to work with some really cool local brands like Montce Swim and Pink Pirate.” He continued to tell me he just fell into it, and it fit with his carefree vibe and lifestyle. He enjoys being able to go into work wearing a t-shirt and board shorts, shooting swimwear at his favorite place–the beach.
Drones are gaining more and more popularity, especially among 20somethings, who have a knack for searching out new perspectives (both literally and figuratively). This week’s inspiring 20something loves how consumer friendly drones are and thinks it’s fun to check out beautiful beach views from a new perspective.
One thing Joel wants people to know about him is that in the industry he works in, there is a bad stigma around photographers because it’s so easy for so many nowadays to get caught up in the idea of “I need to do this in order to be there”. Joel clearly stays true to himself, his values, and his work, and it’s easy to see what he’s about and the type of person he is with a quick scroll through his Instagram feed or website.
His advice to other 20somethings going after their dreams is to live with no regrets, and to keep in mind that whatever is happening is meant to be happening. He strives to always keep learning about himself and about his passion, and to practice gratitude for all things in his life. His advice for all of us is to never stop learning, and have fun with it, while always having a healthy dose of gratitude.
Like all true creatives, Joel is constantly building upon his ideas as he grows and learns. So, the obvious question is, what’s next?
He is progressing as cameras and technology do, and he is hoping to continue to take his work toward more video and motion.
“It’s fun to learn, so I’ll always be honing my photo skills and learning. I’m really excited to be on a journey of pursuing more.” -Joel
I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to talk with such an inspiring 20something, and I can’t wait to see where his journey takes him next.
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Now get out there and be awesome.