Hi there! My name is Grace Cockrell! I’m a senior, about to graduate college at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. I’m a communications major studying broadcast journalism with a minor in photography! Creating content is my life and I made a job out of it! I’ve been a professional photographer for 6+ years with my personal business, Grace Cockrell Photo Co. as well as a photographer for my university for almost 4 years now! I love people and capturing their beautiful chapters within their stories. I’ve been on this earth for 22 years now and my main goal is to travel, capture images of our reality in motion, and to feel something bigger than I could have ever dreamed of. Some fun facts about me??? My zodiac big 3 are Virgo, Capricorn, and Libra (which is horribly accurate for me,) I’m a type 2w3 on the enneagram and my Meyers Briggs Personality type is ENFP/J!!! I love Harry Styles, music, fashion, interior design, film, and all things Parisian. I’m most definitely a morning person and I take my coffee iced. I also have a cat named Saturn who is an ESA that doubles as my best friend!
Check out some of Grace Cockrell Photography Co. images down below! Enjoy the interview!
Q: Owning a small business and graduating from college are already hard things themselves. How have you continued to stay motivated through these obstacles, especially amidst the pandemic?
A: I’m a very goal-oriented person, and my passions double as my goals. Remembering that I’ve been through obstacles before and have come out stronger on the other side helps so much. I’ve had challenges within school and within my job (and now in a pandemic) that I can officially say were worked through because I truly love what I do. As a mature person, you have to view both sides of life. One side, as pursuing a passion, and on the other side resides your goals. Throughout all obstacles, you must keep goals consistent! Consistency is continuing to pursue what you have worked for no matter what has been thrown your way. All of your passions and desires are worthy causes and deserving of your time and effort! Honestly, hard work is more valuable throughout the trying times of the past year, but my goals have remained the same even prior to the pandemic. I have just worked harder and overcome more obstacles!
Q: If you could tell your younger self something specific, what would it be?
A: The two most important things are to allow yourself to fail, and extend more grace to yourself. Allow yourself to rest to avoid burnout. I’ve been in a place where I was so exhausted mentally and once I learned to balance myself and my art, I grew a stronger love for my hopes and dreams. Remind yourself: you don’t have to do it ALL, especially at one time. Good energy and good intentions can carry you through so many things. I like to compare “blooming” and “growing.” These two stages are different, and both equal progress, but are a completely different perspective to each situation.
Q: Where did your passion for photography stem from? Is there one moment in your life when you knew it was your passion?
A: People. I am such a people person! Everyone has a unique and personal story and being able to help show them how beautiful these contributing chapters and moments are is so motivating. I love capturing people at coffee shops, around cities, and even portrait sessions. It fills me with joy to recognize individuals and people who are just so happy with their own beauty. It clicked then that I was helping people see the art within themselves. I enjoy creating what other people imagine. I got a camera, and decided to follow and be inspired by 2015 social media fads! Everyone has a story and a connection. To ask me, “how can I capture this beauty, creativity, and a personal touch?” I love to give and receive an inside look into the lives of people. I strive to recognize my own photography is full of raw moments.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career in the arts or photography?
A: Start from somewhere! Passion over pressure. Keep pushing through, and realize the beginning is not always the total outcome, first steps! Recognize you can always learn from other people, and that there is always something to learn. For me, it has taken lots of time to become the photographer I am today. Experience is key, so work towards your goals and don’t rush your passions.
Q: What are some things that help you stay positive and mentally balanced?
A: Balance is a learned skill, breaks! Communication is also a huge part of self-awareness. You have to realize you should treat yourself like you’re in a relationship listening! Just start from somewhere, and know why you’re starting. Your passion will lead you to remarkable places. You’re going to be on top of the world and flat on the ground in different stages, but embrace it and keep going. Learn, challenge yourself, talk to other people, explore how you feel and how you want to make others feel through your art. And always look back on your first steps with pride.
Grace’s final words:
Just remember that no matter what your passion is, chase it with all you’ve got because it’s so rewarding to look back and realize, ‘Wow, I’ve made it.’
Thank you so much to Grace Cockrell for allowing me to interview you. You are inspiring to young women in the way you are pursuing your passions through a career!
Interview and questions conducted by SpringBoarder, Azalea McRae
Grace’s Photography Work:
Want to try your hand at photography? Check out this GirlSpring article on creating the perfect Instagram photoshoot at home!