Meet photographer Abby Cooke, a second-year Marketing major at JMU. She is excited to display her original series of night-time photographs. Welcome to “After Dark” in The Union.

Cooke’s interest in photography began early on. “I had a lot of family friends who would take pictures of me when I was little and I wanted to be on the other side of it,” says Cooke. “I tend to be shy when I’m the one in photographs. When I was seven I got my first tiny camera and I took pictures all the time.” She remembers her sisters making fun of her “terrible” photography when she was eight. From there, though, Cooke kept at her photography and learned new skills. “It’s become this crazy passion.”

Cooke thanks photography for her interest in marketing as a major. “I wanted to learn how to market myself and my photography.” Her goal is to pursue creating a photography business in the future. “I do all kinds of photography and I think it’s really important to have those moments captured so you can look back and see things you’ve missed.”

For her display in The Union, Cooke wanted to capture the “raw, mysterious essence of the dark.” She had an interest in empty spaces where people usually gather while compiling these photos. She feels that photos in the dark are often overlooked and wanted to draw attention to this unconventional style. “I tend to be drawn toward breaking norms. I think that can be seen through my photography. I try to capture moments, not pictures.”

Most of all, Cooke wants to encourage others to try photography. “People take pictures on their iPhone and say ‘oh, but I could never be a photographer,’” says Cooke. “You already are. Congrats. Step one is just taking a picture.” For her photos in this display, however, Cooke wants viewers to see the “beauty after dark.”

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