Alumni Spotlight - Philip Kramer

Philip Kramer, Travel Photographer

Philip Kramer’s fascination with photography began in high school and led him to EvCC’s photography program, where he found “the perfect combination of academic guidance and creative freedom.” EvCC’s education positioned Philip to receive a full-time position traveling the world as a photographic assistant. Today, Philip runs his own business as a travel and adventure photographer, undertaking adventures like hiking the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail. “EvCC was a great place to put a foundation under my dream,” he says. “Through plenty of one-on-one time with instructors and the added intimacy of a small, close-knit student body, I developed my own career path in photography.” 

Tell me about your family: where you grew up, and did you have brothers or sisters?

I was raised in Montesano, Washington with my parents and three sisters.

Did your parents go to college and did they encourage you to attend college?

Yes, both of my parents went to college and encouraged me and my sisters to attend as well.

When and where did you graduate from high school?

I graduated in 1999 from Montesano High School.

How did you choose EvCC? Was there a selection process involved in your decision making?

Originally, I had other plans. I’d been accepted at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California and was intending to go there. However, before starting, I took a three-month road trip across the country and it made me realize how much $24,000 was (the amount of one year’s tuition at Brooks at that time). So, I withdrew from Brooks and started looking at other options. I had missed the Northwest on my trip and I needed an affordable photography program. EvCC fit that perfectly.

Do you think your time at EvCC helped you pursue your current career? How?

Absolutely, I improved my photographic skills, expanded my knowledge of other photographers, and got an internship that led to many other career opportunities. 

What did you do after you left (or graduated from) EvCC?

I traveled and photographed in Australia and then got a job as a photographer’s assistant.

Did you ever envision your current career while in college?

Yes, I’d wanted to be a photographer since high school.

What courses or activities did you find to be most valuable and how did they help prepare you for your professional career or success in life?

Most valuable was the community of people in the photography program and the daily interactions and discussions amongst teachers, students, and other people involved in implementing the program. My daily morning yoga class was also very valuable.

Was there anyone during your time at EvCC who acted as a mentor for you? Tell me about that relationship and why it was valuable.

My friend, April, was who I considered to be my mentor. She was a fellow student in the photography program, a few years older, and much wiser. We teamed up for many class projects and helped each other learn our craft. Beyond that (and more importantly for me), she was a good friend who helped me learn to live my life.

Any moments that stood out as especially memorable while at EvCC?
Getting an internship with a photographer I really admired--it felt monumental and it really did change everything.

What is your lasting impression of EvCC?

That it was a great place for me to put a foundation under my dream.

What helped you stay motivated, both in school, and in your career?

The idea of a future filled with travel and photography.

Tell me about your current position or career.

Currently, I run my own business as a travel and adventure photographer. 

What do/did you find rewarding about it?

Making my own plans, seeing new places, experiencing things I never thought I would.

What do/did you find most challenging?

Making enough money and keeping myself motivated.

Would you do anything differently if you had the chance to do it all over again?

Yes, I would have let myself be far more flexible with my dreams and ambitions and not been in such a rush for “success.” I would have dabbled in other subjects while in school, and been less specific with my education.

What were your keys to success?

Passion and friendliness. 

What words of advice would you give to current EvCC students?

Explore everything until you find something that genuinely intrigues you. It might take awhile. And it might not last. But it’s worth it.

From this vantage point in life, what do you care about the most?

Appreciating my experiences for what they’ve taught me and applying what I’ve learned to the next undertaking.