Amy Rigsby is a current student at The Art Institute of Tampa and a finalist in the FYAS Fall Photo Contest. Her submission, "Dirt on Body," shown above, is one of her many submissions that have qualified her as a finalist. You can see all of her contest submissions by visiting her contest profile on FYAS. The image above is taken from a series of five photographs that explore the relationship between the human soul and the natural world. Inspired by her volunteer work cleaning up Tampa area rivers and oceans. This series is also entered into the "Green Tampa Bay" competition hosted by the Tampa Convention Center.
In a recent email interview, we got to know a little more about Amy's work and her goals as a professional photographer. She is currently working as a freelance photographer for her own business, Amy Michele Photography. Her work has earned her recognition in the Art Institutes' 24-Hour challenge for best photography, and the school's F8 competition. She is also a winner in Tampa's International Boba House competition. She also contributes her skills as a pro-bono photographer for the I Own Me organization, which raises awareness on issues related to young women and abuse.
Rigsby began photographing when she received a Pentax film camera. At first, she photographed clouds and documented road trips, but didn't consider pursuing it as a profession until she began taking college classes. Originally, Rigsby entered college in Sante Fe, hoping to earn a veterinary degree. "Going through all the work and classes, I found that I was bored and knew that I wasn’t doing what was right for me to live a happy life. My mom suggested a photography degree, since once I found out that my dad was the photographer in the family, I haven’t put down a camera yet," Amy shared.
Switching majors and transferring schools seemed to do the trick. Amy now finds herself enjoying her schoolwork, and gaining confidence in her work on a daily basis. "I think the most valuable aspect of attending art school is the freedom to express yourself, everyone in the school is doing something along the same lines and you don’t really worry about fitting in to the right crowd, since we all help each other out if there is a weakness," she said. "Our teachers are pretty fantastic to say the least, they take their time to help you with your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a certain style, they respect that and help you create your brand around the way you work. If it wasn’t for my professors, I would have the most horrendous business cards and artist statement ever!"
In the future, Amy aspires to be a photographer for a top fashion magazine like ELLE or Vogue. In the meantime, though, she continues to build her brand as a top local wedding and portrait photographer. "What drives me to do my best is seeing the people I photograph happy; I make a connection with them that makes them feel as we are long time friends. I like having control over the situation, from posing and lighting to outfits and makeup – I do it all," Amy said. "I want to be able to be so recognized that people from all over the world call me up and ask if I can capture their special day."
If chosen a winner, Amy hopes to use the prize money to help pay off her tuition bills and perhaps invest in a personal computer so she may edit her photographs from home. Currently, she relies on the resources provided from the Art Institutes to develop and edit her photographs, as well as update her website and social media accounts.
If you'd like to support Amy's work, be sure to check her out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can also find her artist profile on Behance.
Want to enter our Fall Photo Contest? We still have two weeks left! Visit our contest homepage now to register, upload, and start earning live votes.