Brian Waldbillig is a junior from Farmington, Minnesota who is majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Communication Studies. Brian describes himself as caring, passionate, and accepting.
What made you select Winona State?
The bluffs. Growing up, I never knew that Minnesota had bluffs. I was mesmerized the moment I saw the bluffs for the first time. Once I toured the campus, my decision to come here was set in stone!
How did you get into photography?
When I was younger, my parents gave me a small digital camera. I would take photos (poor-quality photos) of flowers and other things in nature, and submit them to the Dakota County fair. The camera eventually broke and I never got a new one. Fast forward to college, I finally got a new camera and started taking photography classes.
Where does your passion for photography stem from?
I would have to say that it stems from my love of music. Some of my favorite things to do are attend concerts and listen to music. When I surround myself with music, it sparks creativity and boosts my confidence. It makes me want to express myself through different artistic outlets. Photography is the outlet that I know best.
What do you do on campus?
I work in University Communications as a PR writer and lead photographer. As a PR writer, I write news releases and features stories for WSU. As the lead photographer, I take photos used for promotional purposes at WSU events. I take professional headshots for WSU faculty and staff. I am also in charge of organizing and assigning photo requests for myself and other photographers. I am a member of WSU’s chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). I will be taking on the role of Vice President for our chapter next year.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
A short-term goal is to attend as many concerts as I can. One of my long-term goals is to become an even better photographer. I learn new photography tips every day and I hope that continues throughout my life. Another long-term goal is to be a publicist for an artist or musician in the music industry.
Who inspires you?
There are so many people in my life that inspire me to be different things. My parents inspire me to be caring and to put others before myself, as they did for me. My brothers inspire me to be a stronger man. My cousin Anna inspires me to love people for who they are, despite the differences. My friend Bria inspires me to live freely. My friend Hannah inspires me to always try my best. My friend Emma inspires me to always be open-minded. My friend Kaeli inspires me to follow the things I am passionate about. My friend Taylor inspires me to always stand up for what I believe in. My friend Rachel inspires me to be a true and loyal friend. My friends Jasmine and Ka inspire me to become better photographers.
What advice would you leave to the next aspiring photographer?
If you are passionate about photography, then take pictures of things you are passionate about, whether that be places you’ve traveled, friends, family, nature or even things in your house. Don’t listen to what other people say about you or your photos. There will always be that one person that gives you their negative opinion that you didn’t ask for. People might see your photos and call you basic, a wannabe or some other negative name. The photos are YOUR photos. YOUR passion. Not theirs.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
It’s OK to be different! I spent a lot of my life trying to conform and fit a certain image, always worrying about what people thought of me. Once I accepted myself for being different, I started to love and appreciate the differences. I stopped wasting my time on the people that didn’t accept me for who I was.