For some, the love they have for others is outpoured into their creations. Junior Marissa Williams is one of those people.
Williams has shown her passion for those around her through a variety of mediums with the undeniable goal to make everyone around her feel comfortable and confident.
Though she started as a freshman communication media major at Wheaton College, it wasn’t long before Williams became bored. She already knew what she wanted to pursue, and communications was not that.
Williams applied to Taylor that November with hopes to join the film department, and transferred her sophomore year.
Her passion for film began in high school when she had taken a keyboarding class where they messed around with iMovie for a bit. Ever since, she knew film was something she wanted to continue to do for the rest of her life.
Through becoming the manager of her high school volleyball team, Williams began to produce videos for the team as well as the church she attended.
When she was asked to start filming videos for the basketball team as well, Williams knew she had to up her game and invest in a camera. She picked out a camera, but knew it was going to take a lot more work in order to come up with the money.
Luckily, the basketball coach was an entrepreneur and Williams’ neighbor. He immediately recognized her talent and wanted to give her a little extra money in order to pursue her dreams, so he paid Williams a bit more.
Unknowingly, it was the exact price of the camera Williams had been working for.
“It was just crazy, because I’d been praying about it for a long time and I didn’t have enough money to do it,” Williams said.
Coming to Taylor, Williams continued to search for inspiration and create beautiful ideas for photos she could capture. Then, inspiration struck in the form of a dream one night.
“I had a dream about an orange photoshoot,” Williams said. “I was like, ‘Oh that’s cool! Let’s just try it!’ I got people together, we went to Goodwill and then went behind Taylor — I loved it. It was super random and super jank and I had no idea what I was doing.”
Those photos circulated Instagram, and Williams began to develop a name for herself around campus for her unique artistic style.
Her main sources of inspiration are dreams or vivid visions from the Lord during worship. Her art has given her a clear connection to Christ.
“The Lord gives me a really clear picture of what it (the photoshoot) is going to be,” Williams said. “And it sounds so hyper spiritual explained, but it’s during worship, specifically worship, I get a really clear picture. Then, I try thinking and pray into it a bit more and it flares up.”
Following this feeling she gets during worship, Williams’ natural impulses are what guide her when operating the camera.
When she gets an idea in her head, she executes it until it fits, and the results are always even better than she previously imagined.
While standing in front of the camera and posing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Williams is able to guide a photoshoot in a way that allows every person to shine in front of the camera. Her projects aim to cultivate community, from the actual photoshoot to the presentation.
“I recognize the routine,” Williams said. “You’re going to feel uncomfortable at the start and that’s okay. But, as we go on, the group feels more comfortable together and with each other. My favorite part is that people leave with more friends than they started with. There’s a greater sense of connection.”
Williams sees her art as not merely her own work but as a collaboration between herself, her peers and her creator. In an act of surrender, Williams follows the inspiration she receives from the Lord and uses her talents to give back to Him. She is not selfish with what God has given her. She pours every ounce of herself into her work.
That to her, is the purpose of art.
“It’s all glory to God,” Williams said. “He is so vast and beautiful and if I can create in a way to pull people’s eyes back to him, then done, that’s it.”
Bringing people together to ultimately bring each other to Him is what it’s all about for Williams.
Her purpose is not to have others see her work and notice her, but to see the one who brought them all there together and created each of them.