Bermuda born – Leaving footprints for generations
Shared from the Gwinnett Citizen
Steve Darrell’s introduction as a Gwinnett County videographer was a rather auspicious one. In 2014, as construction was beginning on the Snellville Veterans Memorial, Steve offered to produce a video which would show details of the construction, interwoven with interviews of military veterans.
The result was a stunning 60-minute video entitled, “Freedom is Never Free- The Story of the Snellville Veterans Memorial Project” (You can view an excerpt at http://www.brmedia.solutions/project/the-snellville-veterans-memorial/). The video is remarkable not only for its production quality but for the emotions Steve captured during the veteran interviews.
Since the Veterans Memorial video, Steve’s company, Blue Rose Media Solutions, has developed an impressive list of clients for his photography and videography talents. Given those talents, Steve’s success isn’t surprising; what is a bit unexpected is the way he came to achieve that success and came to live in Gwinnett County.
Steve grew up in Bermuda, that “veddy, veddy” British island in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,200 miles from Cape Hatteras, NC. Known for its pink sand beaches, mild climate and picturesque houses, Bermuda is typically viewed as an ideal vacation destination- an island paradise where tourists can enjoy sailing, water skiing, snorkeling, Scuba diving, golf, or just relaxing on the beach.
Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to life in Bermuda. As a police officer, Steve repeatedly saw that dark side, most disturbing of which was a marked increase in gang violence. Equally disturbing was the direction the educational system had taken. According to Steve, “Unless you could spend $25,000 a year for private school, your kids weren’t going to get a solid education. Aside from that, Bermuda is a great place. It has a different way of life and a different way of thinking. The grass may be greener in the US, but it’s not 100% greener. I think Bermuda does some things better and the United States does some things better. And for my wife, my kids and myself, this is the best place for us to be.”
Steve shooting video in the Gwinnett Citizen office.
Steve’s move to Georgia in 2012 wasn’t his first extended stay in the United States. In 1995, he was enrolled in boarding school in New Jersey. And that’s where he met the girl who became his high school sweetheart and future wife. Steve and Sandy were married in 2007.
After graduation, Steve returned to Bermuda and joined the police force and Sandy began teaching. Steve had long been interested in photography and in 2009, he made the transition from hobbyist to professional. When he moved to Georgia, in 2012, he left his law enforcement career behind and began working full time as a photographer.
Unfortunately, it was a difficult transition. Being new to the area, and not having many contacts, securing photo assignments was difficult and time-consuming. For the first few months, it was a struggle to make ends meet. But as Steve’s talents emerged, things soon began to change for the better, and in 2013, while attending a children’s party, he met a video producer from New York. The producer was filming a reality show in Atlanta and hired Steve as director of photography.
That experience prompted Steve to begin doing his own video productions, and in 2014, he left the reality show production company and concentrated full time on his career as an independent videographer and photographer. Since that time, his photography/videography business has blossomed.
For Steve’s wife Sandy, the transition from a Bermudian to US resident was considerably smoother. She was born in Canada and moved to the U.S. at three years old. She had lived in a number of cities, so she was well acquainted with the country. After graduating from college, she became a teacher. She moved to Gwinnett County to help a group of college friends, also teachers, who were starting a special school. Regardless of the country, teachers are always in high demand, so she never had trouble finding a job. When she moved back to Gwinnett County, she found a teaching position almost immediately. According to Steve, “It was really easy for her. A day after moving back to Gwinnett County, she had a job.”
For Steve, the challenge is no longer finding photography and videography assignments, it’s scheduling them. As Gwinnett County continues growing, so does the demand for high-quality photography and videography. The opportunities created by those demands are part of the Gwinnett County’s fabric of life. And like many other people who were born in other countries. Steve Darrell has become an integral part of that fabric.