In the darkened glow of early internet days, there I was, a keyboard-tapping maverick, weaving digital dreams in the form of—a mecca for N64 enthusiasts. I remember Summerfield, Florida. It's where destiny had me brush shoulders with Jeb Bush. We exchanged words, thoughts, predictions—all revolving around the rising beast called the internet and where computing was headed. That fateful meeting was my golden ticket. High school was still my world, but I was moonlighting at an internet development firm, molding my raw talents for the no-nonsense corporate streets.
By 2002, with an Associates in Digital Arts from Full Sail University tucked under my arm, the world looked different. The horror of 9/11 was still fresh. It pulled me in a direction I hadn’t considered before. Soon enough, the Navy's blue hues embraced me, and I became its Combat Journalist—trained in the art of storytelling, guided by AP standards, and viewing the world through the lens as the greats did. Names like Bobby McRill, Ken Hackman, and the legendary Chip Maurey, a Navy Seal who had once captured the very essence of conflict beside Eddie Adams and Nick Ut in Vietnam. And then there was Joe McNally. A guide, a mentor.
Decked in 45 lbs of kevlar, with Nikon D2x bodies, assorted lenses, a video camera, M16 and a 9mm Baretta for company, I traversed terrains all over the world. My mission? To document, to tell tales of weight and gravitas, or gather visual intelligence. 
2009 marked the end of my military voyage, but it had awarded me with four distinct Navy Achievement Medals—each a testament to my dedication. Thereafter, academia beckoned. I dove deep, acquiring a Bachelors, then thirsting for more, started work on a Masters in Business. With a GPA of 3.8, my alma mater recognized my potential and welcomed me aboard, entrusting me to mold minds in their 'New Media Journalism' program.
But the Big Apple had always sung a siren song. With two suitcases and a pocketful of dreams, I landed in its bustling streets. From capturing the essence of brands like Michael Kors, Gucci, and Tom Ford at Macy's, to orchestrating art at big leagues like Conde Nast, The NFL, and Direct TV, my journey evolved. At Patriarch Partners on Wall Street, I dove into the world of branding and reimagining the virtual facades of American Icons. My time saw collaborations with TV shows, advocacy for transgender military rights, and features in renowned publications.
Then 2019 happened, a milestone year. My own photo studio opened its doors. A sanctuary where I continued to breathe life into distressed brands, luxury items, celebrities, musicians, all while earning nods from giants like Wacom, Elinchrom, and Nan Lighting. The journey, as they say, is never-ending.
I have the distinct and rare pleasure of knowing and working with someone, who both inspires and delights me every day. Erika brings years off on the job experience, a wealth of skills, and a keen eye to every program she manages. I have worked with Erica for several years on a number of editorial photo shoots that were both beautiful and compelling. We have also appeared on television together, and the production crew was thrilled with her caliber of work and efficiency. It is very rare to find a photographer who can capture emotion, proportion, and fashion in such an effortless way. She gives 150% every time, and there has never a shoot or project that I didn't love and treasure. Erika Barker has my full confidence, and deepest respect. I highly recommend Erica for all needs you may have.
Sir Richard lowe - Creative Director of Spiegel Catalog
Erika is a talented photographer and journalist. Her intellectual curiosity and aptitude for technology make her a commensurate professional in this field. She is a hard-working, compassionate, and considerate person. I truly enjoyed working with her at Full Sail University, and would recommend her for any position that involved her creative and technology skills.
Sandra Klass BK - Founder at Tripkee Tour Booking Software
I worked directly with Erika Barker for three years in the New Media Journalism and Public Relations Master of Arts programs at Full Sail University. Over this time, Erika developed and successfully taught the Multimedia Development and Editing, Mobile Technology and Communications, and Online Media Room courses. Erika’s students consistently awarded her the highest evaluations in both the new media journalism and the public relations Master of Arts programs, and she also conducted numerous Continuing Education seminars for educators. Overall, Erika’s professional and teaching portfolios demonstrate her mastery of photojournalism, videography, social media engagement, multimedia reporting, and web design.  On a personal level, Erika is respectful, friendly, collaborative, and levelheaded. She will be sorely missed by all the other course directors, especially myself, who depend on her for advice, assistance, and tutorials on subjects ranging from professional head shots to search engine optimization. Therefore, it is without reservation that I extend my highest possible recommendation to Erika. Please feel free to contact me for more information.
David Lynn Painter - Professor of communications at Rollins College
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