Wally Hawkins

 

I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and grew up traveling around the United States, as my dad was a career Army. He retired as a full colonel after 33 years of service. At that point, he moved our family to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the early ’70s.  

 My love for photography started as a young child. I shot my first images while on Boy Scout campouts with a Kodak Instamatic camera. As my love for photography grew, I branched out to capture other subject matter, specifically skateboarding. I also started shooting movies with my dad’s Super 8 movie camera. Between Super 8 and my Kodak, I was capturing a lot of skateboarding. With the help of friends and skateboard pros, I honed my skills while taking photography classes in high school.

 After high school, I followed my other passion: working out and training people in the martial arts. I have been training for more than 40 years and have earned a 6th-degree black belt in Karate and a 1st-degree black belt in Judo.   

 With this martial arts experience, stunt work and acting seemed a natural fit for me, which lead me back to working with cameras, although this time they were television cameras in Hollywood. For more than 25 years now, I have worked as a director of photography and lighting designer in the television industry, covering the Beijing, Vancouver, Rio, and Sochi Olympics, the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys, and for shows like Access Hollywood, Extra, E!, and many, many more.

 I left Hollywood to head back to Las Vegas and help my aging father. Once back home, I settled in the southwest part of town and returned to my first passion, shooting still photography. To dust off those old skills and learn some new ones, I immediately enrolled in photography classes at the College of Southern Nevada. In a nutshell, I love photography because of the way it makes me feel. When I’m shooting, nothing else enters my head. My problems are gone for that amount of time. I know when I’m searching for a location to shoot or looking for a different angle that others may have overlooked, I’ve found it when I “feel it.” My photography is all about feeling. When you look at my pictures, I hope that they give you a similar feeling and take you somewhere else for a minute. 

 So, my life has come full circle, living back in Las Vegas where I grew up, training in Judo and Karate, and now watching my daughter become quite an artist in her own right. She graduated from Las Vegas Academy with an art degree and has been accepted into Pepperdine’s art program. It’s amazing to talk art with her and watch her learn and grow — especially because her thing is not photography. She’s a 2D and 3D artist. But art is art!