Leon Jones came to Johnson County Community College to explore options for his future. What he found was an opportunity to turn a hobby into his career focus.
Jones spent several years as an air traffic controller. Even though the job paid well, he never was satisfied with it. “I felt like I was always sick and never really happy while I was in that position. That deterioration led me back to school,” he said. The school that was right for Jones was JCCC.
“I’ve always heard good things about the photography program here, and the college in general. It was that and the proximity and cost that sold me.”
Jones has spent the past few semesters studying photography and other courses that allow him to express himself. “Before coming to JCCC, photography was more of a hobby, but now it is a real career option. It has taken a hold of me,” he said.
Working with film photography is Jones’ preferred artistic method for capturing an image. He gets creative using alternative ways of processing films. One of his more notable works is an image of trees printed on metal. "No one here at JCCC has done that before that I know of, so I was very proud of that,” he said.
One of Jones’ photos – an artistic self-portrait – also appeared on the cover of the 2010 edition of Mind’s Eye, a magazine annually produced by the college that features art and literary pieces.
As for where Jones gets his inspiration, he said, “Nothing specific. I am drawn to abstract things and I like to take normal, everyday objects, and try to make people see them in a different way.”
Jones’ accomplishments so far include winning two fine art scholarships totaling $2,200 as well as having at show at Truman Medical Center Healing Arts Gallery.
Jones is currently shopping schools for when he graduates from JCCC, but has not yet decided where he will transfer. After he is finished with school he has a few ideas for his future. “I could see myself teaching photography,” he said. “I think I would like to help bring out that creativity in others.”
Ultimately, Jones would like to be recognized as a fine art photographer. “If I could have complete creative freedom; from staging and directing a shoot, and processing the film to the finished image…that is my dream.”