By: Elayseah Woodard-Hinton
As Brooks Fletcher prepares for his transition out of the Army, he is filled with optimism about the next phase in his life. It has taken some time for Fletcher to reach this point, because it wasn’t until several years into his ten year enlistment that he realized how he wanted to move forward with his career.
“I knew that I wanted to further my education, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take it,” explained Fletcher.
Partially out of frustration, but mainly from inspiration, things started to click for the Public Affairs Specialist while stationed in Germany. This was his third duty station and he’d already spent the last seven years of his Army career writing articles and taking photos of Military deployments, events, and trainings.
As he approached a decade of working in his career field, Fletcher felt he’d hit a wall in his personal and professional growth. He realized he wanted more freedom in creativity with his work. He also felt a calling to take his skills and excitement for the photojournalism side of his job and give back by teaching other’s how to express themselves creatively through photography.
Although Fletcher considered himself to be fairly artistic before entering the Army, he acknowledges that he might not have realized his passion for photography or discovered his ability to communicate the beauty he sees in this art form if it hadn’t been for the places and opportunities that he’s been exposed to during his time in service.
“The Army introduced me to photography and the opportunity to exercise this skill,” said Fletcher. “It has allowed me to explore things more fully and it has forced me to articulate my ideas and thoughts in a more refined manner.”
In order to broaden his knowledge in photography, Fletcher has enrolled in the Master of Fine Art in Photography through the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He’s been taking online courses for the last three years and will continue his studies with the help of his G.I. Bill once he is out of the Army.
“I feel really excited about this next phase in my life,” said Fletcher. “I feel extremely optimistic because of how well I’ve progressed academically over the last three years.”
Fletcher’s academic progression hasn’t been an easy feat. He’s had to manage his time wisely in order to fit in his academic studies between deployments and his daily duties as a Staff Sergeant; however, he’s remained diligent in his pursuit by keeping in mind that these were only temporary obstacles in his personal and professional growth. Once he obtains his MFA he plans to pursue a PhD and eventually teach.
In addition to his enthusiasm about the possibilities awaiting him in his post military career, Fletcher is also excited about crossing a few more countries he plans to visit off of his list. But don’t expect to find this globetrotter hanging out at the typical tourist attractions. Fletcher said he takes pride in understanding different cultures, meeting new people, and exploring what else is out there. He enjoys diving into a culture by venturing to places where locals tend to frequent, sparking up a conversation with a stranger and snapping a few shots of the countries’ raw beauty.
To find out more about Brooks Fletcher and his artistic ventures, you can visit his website at www.brooksfletcher.com