Photograph by Brandon Payne (’12)
Alumni Spotlight

Skate of mind

Photographer alumnus brings his passions into focus

Brandon Payne’s (’12) career as a photographer started with becoming a skateboarder. When he was a kid, he would spend hours poring over skateboard magazines with photos of tricks, travels and adventures. Payne felt as if the photography pulled him into that world and culture. “I became so excited each and every time a new one was in my hand, because that meant new photos to look at and get inspired all over again,” he said.

Brandon Payne (’12) recently released Chromatic, a photo collection of the past 11 years of his street missions, travels, international adventures and more.
(Photo: Brandon Payne (’12))

Payne majored in Journalism in the School of Media Arts and Design and worked at The Breeze for two years. While at JMU, he became a snowboard instructor and later a snowboard coach at Massanutten Resort.

From attending classes in Harrison Hall to skate sessions with fellow Dukes and Harrisonburg locals, he looks back on his Madison Experience with gratitude. “I am so blessed for being a Duke,” said Payne. “A good amount of the friendships and connections that I made there have stood the test of time, even today.”

”Skateboarding and photography have connected me with individuals from all over the country and the world,” said Payne.
(Photo: Brandon Payne (’12))

Payne believes his vibrant social life at JMU made it easier for him to collaborate with people as a photographer. “The old saying ‘It’s not what you know but who you know’ has really been a huge factor in my career and success thus far,” he said. “My time at JMU shaped me into the man and go-getter that I am today. You meet so many different types of people through JMU, and if you really soak up every bit of it like I did, the rewards are almost endless.”

CHROMATIC. Full of all walks of life. Not just the pros you see in the mags and videos, but the people that come after them,” said Payne.
(Photo: Brandon Payne (’12))

Currently, Payne is a photographer for TeamPeople, a media company in Falls Church, Virginia, while also working as a freelancer. He recently released a book, Chromatic, which comprises 11-plus years of his skateboard photography. 

View more of Payne’s work at, and connect with him on Instagram: @scrandom_bman.

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