Kim Boyd Vickrey-Jones


How a career change helped shape Vickrey-Jones Equine Fine Art Photography

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When Kim Vickrey-Jones was 26-years-old she was working in “Corporate America” in Nashville, Tenn. She was a young graphic designer and photographer who worked in advertising. She created advertisements and designs for her company.  Kim was working 55 hour weeks and the concept of “work-life balance” did not exist. She graduated from Delta State with a graphic design degree a few years earlier, but her motivation was running on empty and she didn’t feel like the corporate world was right for her.

Even though Kim established a career at a young age she was ready to make a major career change. Her biggest struggle was getting out of the “corporate box” and starting over. Kim began to make a list of everything she dreamed of becoming. “I am very creative, and a very right brained thinker,” she said. Kim knew she wanted to use her creative skills but how and where was her challenge.  She wrote down dreams such as being a princess, an olympic equestrian, professional photographer and college professor. 

As she wrote her list she also crossed off things she knew she couldn’t do. Even as a lifelong equestrian, an Olympian was a stretch, considering she didn’t own a horse at the time. She even crossed off college professor because she didn’t have the funds to go back to college and continue her education. When a friend of hers talked with her about available resources and financial aid she began to think becoming a college professor was not off the table.

The University of Memphis had a top ten graphic design program in the country at the time. As soon as she worked out her financial aid she enrolled and the program changed her life. Soon after finishing the program at the University of Memphis she started teaching graphic design and photography at Western Kentucky. She taught there for four years and then took a position at Arkansas State University where she has been a professor for the last 23 years.

“The ASU team and art department were my kind of people. I love the team and I love my students. I am the most unprofessional professor there is,” Kim stated.

Kim’s life and exposure to horses started when she was a young girl. Her grandparents kept friends’ horses and had livestock on their farms in Water Valley, Miss. Horses were a part of her life from the beginning. She started photographing horses before she can remember.  Kim photographed her children when they were babies. She did some wedding photography and even some horse show photography, but she decided she didn’t want to photograph horses for other people. She wanted to photograph horses for herself.

In the early years of Facebook, Kim found a group of female horse show photographers. She packed her bag and took a flight out west to meet the women. It was a pivotal point in her photography. She met likeminded women and they would discuss photography and different skills needed to photograph horses.  

Kim said, “I shoot like a designer. I want to create art and I want to create it for myself. If other people love my work and want to buy it then it gives me the most joy.” She goes on to explain, “I photograph horses because it fills me with every good emotion and positivity I can receive.”

Kim’s goal for her photography is to keep it classic. She sometimes has a plan before a shoot, but most of the time she trusts the process and shoots from the hip as she says. Sometimes she has happy accidents, and other times she has a vision. Kim is always working to capture “the money shot.”

As a designer she will tinker and play with different editing trends, but she likes to keep her work timeless. She teaches her students different skill sets as well. Her photography class is specific for graphic designers. “The more skill sets you have in your tool belt and the more you have to offer, the more viable you are to your clients,” Kim says.

Kim continues to ride horses as well. She boarded her horses at the ASU Equine Center for many years. Much like her photography, she rides to be with her horses because it brings her joy. She has been fortunate to maintain her friendships with women from the Facebook photography group. It has allowed her to travel and visit friends throughout the world. Many times during her travels she captures horse photography. When asked what she wishes she could teach everyone about her field she said, “That graphic design and photography are more than making things look pretty. It’s the visual organization of images, words, and ideas to effectively convey information to an audience.” 

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