Taking a break for lunch, marketing major and religious studies minor John Schumacher was enjoying a class-free day under the moss before heading home to work on his website. Yes, you read correctly. His website, Schumacher Studios, was recently established as a means of developing his career as a professional photographer.

Schumacher, a junior from Nashville, Tenn., was attracted to the College’s School of Business as well as its study abroad programs and close proximity to the beach. At first glance, one might mistake Schumacher for a typical college student. But upon further examination, his life is much more intricate.

A photo from Schumacher’s study abroad semester in Australia.

Schumacher’s creativity began with music. “I begged my parents to let me play piano and after years, they finally said yes. Playing is really unwinding for me and it’s a great way to relax. A lot of times I’ll go into Simons and play on the baby grand pianos,” he says.

He picked up the guitar at 16 and the camera found its way into his hands two years later. “I just followed a bunch of people on social media who I looked up to and thought had awesome careers,” he says. “I thought it would be another fun hobby, but within a year I realized it could be something more than that.”

His realization was strengthened when, while studying abroad in Australia last spring, his photography helped him gain a substantial following on social media. Based at the University of Sydney, Schumacher traveled to New Zealand, Fiji, and other parts of Asia. “I definitely became more culturally diverse from the immersion – I got to surf, take photos, learn, and make a lot of new friends.”

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Although he began by shooting portraits, his passion for the many incredible landscapes of the world became too powerful to ignore.  

When asked about the future, Schumacher responds, “How far?” He has multiple plans for the immediate as well as the distant future. “There are two sides of my life right now: academic life and work life. By the time I graduate, I hope to be able to take photos and market full time so that I can support myself.”

Schumacher took this photo in New Zealand.

Schumacher has considered working in a corporate environment, but he also wants the ability to be creative and free. He hopes to work with an outdoor company such as REI, North Face or Patagonia and perhaps become a marketing consultant as he settles down.

Since his return to the Lowcountry, Schumacher continues to shoot frequently. “I go to the beaches, the marshes, or parts nearby and find fulfillment there. I’m actually going to the mountains this weekend,” he says with a laugh. “I’m going with a few friends just to get away from the city.”

Although Schumacher prefers to shoot alone, there are definitely benefits to shooting with others. “When I’m shooting alone it allows me to go where I want, to stay or leave when I want. I love to take trips outdoors with friends, though. Taking the opportunity to get away from our mundane lives and be unplugged… it gives me the opportunity to be truly intimate with people and some of my best friendships have formed from connecting through trips like that.”

For Schumacher, photographs communicate the incredible stories within each person, landscape and movement. But more than that, photographs give him the ability to cherish the adventures he has had and the people he has met along the way.

Lauren Vega is a junior from Huntington, West Virginia, studying arts management and international studies in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also a National Merit Scholar, a scholar in the International Studies Program, and a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.