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Photography Student Turns Passion into Business

Last updated on Apr 3, 2019

By Jacqueline Escobar

Staff Writer

Vanessa Gardner, a junior photography major, worked on several projects during the spring 2019 semester, including a series of photographs called “Women of Color in Color,” which she hopes will encourage women of color to feel more vibrant about themselves.

“The series I add to most often is this project, a project I hope will highlight the confidence and vibrance inside every women of color,” Gardner said.

Vanessa Gardner owns her own photography business, VmgphotoCo

Gardner does her best to stay true to her original interests in photography by photographing nature. She hopes to do freelance work until she figures out what she would like to do with her skills. “I am leaning towards travel photography,” she said.

Gardner is currently taking darkroom and studio lighting courses in the photo program in the art department. These courses help her develop new skills. When Gardner isn’t on campus, she takes her photography skills with her on her travels.

“I took a trip up by Bear Mountain to run around in the snow taking photos,” she said. “I really enjoy traveling since I’m not a native Long Islander.” Gardner is from Mount Vernon, in Westchester County. “I’ve had a lot of fun driving around here [Long Island] and discovering new places to eat, hike and shoot photos,” Gardner said.

Gardner also runs a slowly growing business named VmgphotoCo. She started it in December 2013, in her freshman year of high school. Her Instagram account is @vmgphoto_.

“I have photographed kids’ parties, proms, school programs, camp photos, headshots, graduation shoots, and baby showers,” Gardner said.

When Gardner isn’t behind the camera, she likes to go bowling and horseback riding.

Gardner is also an RA in Queens Hall; this is her third semester as an RA on campus. Gardener started in Kings Hall last spring semester. She loves to spend time with her residents. “I enjoy my job as an RA. I actually really like having the freshman buildings,” Gardner said.

Gardner has a passion for kids and hopes to work with high schools in the future. “I went to Thornton High School and was head of year-book there for two years; recently the school district changed the school to a performing arts school, and ideally, I hope to go back and contribute as a photography teacher,” she said.

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