Through the Lens with Bradley Slade

“I remember holding the camera up, looking through the viewfinder, and just watching the composition change,” says photographer Bradley Slade. He was taking his first photography class as a sophomore in high school, and he had gone out into the mountains to try his hand at the craft his father loved. “I was kind of getting into this Zen moment where you lose track of everything,” he recalls. “With just little adjustments you could watch the frame change. And that was magic.”

He knew then that he wanted to be a photographer. Now, with a studio on BYU campus he takes photos every day, looking through his lens.

Slade, a regular contributor to the Marriott Alumni Magazine, shoots for multiple publications at BYU, including BYU Magazine. On the side, he and a couple friends run a magazine called Seeing the Everyday which highlights little moments in life, captured on film and in stories.

“I do all kinds of photos, but my favorites are of people,” he says. “The best thing is to meet people and see the way they tick. Photography is awesome because it’s a tool of discovery. It gives you a passport into someone’s world to see how they live.”

People were his subjects in our latest issue—Slade took photos for both “Speaker of the House,” about alumna Mirella Petersen, and “The Spirit to Serve,” which featured students, faculty, and alumni who gave service as part of the Marriott 25 celebration.

“I love that kind of stuff,” he says about the Summer 2014 articles. “They were all fun. I got to meet people and see them doing what they loved, whether it was rock climbing or being with family.”

In a small wooden box, Slade keeps some of his favorite photos. Inside is a series he did about personal finance for the Marriott School, along with photos of his kids and family friends.

His very favorite is a picture of his wife when she was pregnant with their first child. He says he’s not sure if he likes it so much because of the subject matter or because of the quality of the photo. Either way, it doesn’t matter to him. He cares most about the experience he had and the way it came out on film.

He still looks for that experience with every photo he takes, a feeling he traces back to that first photo class assignment.

“A lot of times the emotion you felt when you were taking the picture is not there when you develop it,” he says. “But somehow with that first roll of film, everything clicked.”