LUSK – Age is no indication of talent and that definitely applies to 17-year-old Allison Williams. William’s photography shows both a technical and emotional maturity that many would not expect from a high school senior.
Williams started taking pictures when her grandmother gave her a point and shoot camera when she was six. Her interest grew as she did and she eventually acquired a beginner’s Nikon DSLR. Williams has been seriously invested in her photography for the last four years, never missing an opportunity to take her camera out or snap pictures of family and friends.
Williams considers herself a natural light photographer who prefers candid portrait and lifestyle work. She particularly enjoys showing the world her perspective on ranch and western life. She worked hard all summer last year and after saving up her money was able to upgrade her camera to a Nikon D750.
Raised north of Lusk on the 4-3 ranch alongside her older brother Clayton and younger sister Larkin, Williams credits her parents with helping her to develop maturity as a person and a photographer. Her parents, JD and Lisa never dismissed Allison’s interest in photography and encouraged her to make her hobby a priority but only after her chores and ranch work were done. This lead to Williams working hard to ensure she would get to continue pursuing photography and often doing both at the same time. As she says with a quick smile, when she is horseback with her camera things can get interesting since she is also working. She laughs when she recounts the story of the one (and only time so far) that she was unseated from her horse while holding her camera. She was focused on getting some quick shots and didn’t realize her horse couldn’t see the cow she had been tracking up to. Both horse and rider ended up surprised but she saved the camera.
In addition to working on the ranch, Williams has been babysitting kids for as long as she can remember. Her experience with young children gives her more confidence photographing families than other 17-year-olds might have. She loves everything about children from the temper tantrums to the giggles and has become adept at capturing all the nuances of a family in an informal style during portrait sessions.
Her work is marked by dramatic lighting and unique angles. It showcases a variety of subjects from working cowboys to toddlers and billowing storm clouds to a herd of horses in cantering through the snow. In conversation she is composed but passionate about her art.
Williams admits that one of her frustrations has come from not being taken seriously because of her age. It has been difficult for her to find willing clients because they simply can’t believe she is serious about wanting to do portrait work. She expressed an appreciation for those that have been willing to work with her. She also recognizes that the best way to show her commitment is to just keep taking pictures. Family and friends have encouraged her to share her work on social media and she has gathered a loyal following on Instagram under the name @redbird.rose. She has had her work published in the 2019 Horse Roundup and Working Ranch Magazine.
While Williams loves photography and enjoys taking workshops and mentoring under more experienced photographers, she does not plan to formally pursue photography in college. She plans to go to nursing school and continue to use her photography as both a creative outlet and a side business.
Williams’ work is showing at the Niobrara County Library as part of the their local art series. She is the featured artist for the month of February and her work can be seen through the month.