Snapshot: Kimberly Stith
Major: General Studies with concentration and electives in photography
Student involvement: Editor of AACC’s newspaper Campus Crier, Photography Club member
Like many college-aged students, Kimberly Stith had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. Her early years were made up of moving from one Maryland location to the next, usually spending only a few years at each residence. At 17, she dropped out of high school, earned her GED, and moved to Annapolis from Silver Spring. It wasn’t until she was 22 that a family tragedy suddenly defined her plans for the future.
“It’s kind of sad but my grandfather died and I always remembered him carrying around a camera,” she says. “I kept all of his camera equipment and there was tons of stuff—filters and lenses. I had never used anything but a point and shoot before. I tried to use the camera without knowing what I was doing so I took a noncredit photo class and fell in love with it and figured out that’s what I wanted to do.” So in 2003, she got serious and enrolled at AACC as a student.
“It was just deciding and finding something that I really enjoyed and wanted to learn about,” she says of her decision. “I know everyone goes to school at 18 and by the time you’re 21 you should know who you are, but I wasn’t one of those people. I’ve had some bumps and made some mistakes, but that’s what I like about AACC is that you can make mistakes here and you’re not completely broke because of it. They don’t automatically say to you ‘OK, you have to go.’ They allow you to make those mistakes and realize, okay sometimes people have a slow start. Sometimes people need more than two chances to figure it out.”
With no photography program to study, Kimberly decided on a general studies major with a concentration and electives in photography. As her love for photography grew, so did her style. She strayed from posed photographs and embraced a more photojournalistic style of shooting where she captured specific moments in time. Where else could she better learn this style than the school newspaper? So she joined the photography club and the school’s student newspaper the Campus Crier as a photographer. She progressed to photo editor, then layout editor, and now shares editor duties with student Kailey Theroux.
“I take photos every issue,” she says of her responsibilities. She explains that every story slated for the next issue is accompanied by the writer’s vision of the story and contact information of specific sources. This information is then distributed to the staff photographers who go out and shoot what they feel best represents the story with the given information.
“Eventually I’d love to work for the Washington Times, New York Times, or Washington Post,” she says. “Even if I ended up at a small newspaper, I would love to work for a newspaper. But my dream job is to work for the AP [Associated Press].”
Kimberly has crafted her photography under the close guidance of Professor Don Kneessi. “I adore him,” she says. “What’s kind of cool about Professor Kneessi is that he actually still works as a photographer. He has a permanent display at the Marriott in Atlanta of flower photos—it’s pretty cool. He’s still working out in the field and teaching because he loves to teach.”