Photographer Jason Williams gives skill, time to elementary students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2012

SPENCER — Jason Williams knows just how priceless a picture can be.
The owner of Snapshots Photographic said that’s why he’s lending his time and resources to Communities in Schools of Rowan County this holiday season.
Williams is traveling to several schools with his camera and gear to take photos of students in the program. He photographed 44 students at North Rowan Elementary recently.
As children came from their classrooms, Williams had them pose in front of the school’s Christmas tree, which was decorated with hand-crafted ornaments.
Some smiled shyly, while others took the opportunity to practice their modeling skills, striking a pose without any direction from Williams.
When Williams leaves the school he’ll head back to his office to edit the photos and send them off to be printed. Later, he’ll frame the 5-by-7 portraits and the students will wrap them as gifts for their parents.
Williams spends about 20 hours working on the project each year.
“That’s nothing when you think about what this will mean to these families,” he said. “You really can’t put a price on what it’s worth to me.”
Williams began photography as a hobby more than two decades ago.
“I did photography part time on the side when I worked at Freightliner,” he said. “When I got laid off, I took the opportunity to go back to school.”
He completed his associate’s degree in portrait photography at Randolph Community College earlier this year. “That helped me refine some of my skills and pushed me into the business end of it,” Williams said.
Williams said his business, which recently moved to 211 S. Main St. in downtown Salisbury, works with Communities in Schools all year long, donating school supplies and food for needy families, but he wanted to do something that tapped into his passion for photography.
“I try to give back to the community all year along, but as with anybody, it gets hard,” he said. “This is the one time of year I know I can do something special for somebody.”
“A lot of these families can’t afford professional photos, so to be able to give them this gift is very heartwarming,” he said.
Brenda Walker, the Communities in Schools site coordinator at North, said Williams’ good deed was much appreciated.
“The kids really enjoyed it,” she said. “I think it’s a really nice gesture on his part to be involved in the lives of the children.”
Walker said Williams is doing a “wonderful thing.”
“This is just another important act that goes hand-in-hand with what we’re already doing for the children here at the school,” she said. “It’s a festive way to share the holiday season.”
Williams said each year the children send him a card thanking him for the photos.
“I always get choked up. I don’t take that for granted,” he said. “It makes me so happy to know it means so much to them.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.