NBCCD Photography alumni captures events, industry in Saint John

March 9, 2017

NBCCD Photography alumni James Walsh made his own job through passion, persistence, and a love for Saint John, New Brunswick.

He did not start his own business. Instead, he proved his value to a company that he admired.

Shortly after graduation, Walsh approached Rod Stears, an NBCCD Photography instructor and owner of Rod Stears Photography. There was no job opening at the time, but Stears knew Walsh was a good student, who could turn into a good hire.

“He was there on time and handed everything in,” says Stears.

The company, located in Saint John, N.B., mainly produces video and takes photos of special events, commercial industries, and community projects, such as Christmas portraits for less-fortunate families.

Walsh said he always planned to live and work in Saint John. The port city is his home and he said it’s as enticing to him as New York City.

Wanting to prove himself to Stears, Walsh started volunteering for Stears’ business. After a few weeks the two applied for the Government of New Brunswick’s Wage Incentive – One Job Pledge program, which paid 70 per cent of Walsh’s wages for the first year. This program gives new graduates the power to approach potential employers who might not otherwise be able to hire them. The deal was that if James could sufficiently build up the business to cover his salary before funding ran out, he would be able to stay on full-time.

Three years later, the business continues to grow. Walsh said every time they set up a shot, he learns new technical skills from Stears, who has been in the industry for 40 years.

Walsh said despite having had no real interest in high school, he found something he wanted to work hard for at NBCCD.

“I have to hand it to the instructors,” James says. “They really make you want to come to school every day.”