The Man Behind the Screen
Justin Van Dyke has been a member of the Eastern Christian, EC, staff since he was in high school. While many know him as the man who takes photos, Justin’s job is much broader than that.
“My job at EC spans a pretty wide variety of tasks. My official title is Visual Communications Coordinator & Webmaster, which sounds relatively simple, but includes work across all campuses, general school marketing, association and Foundation offices. It includes things like: photography, video production, audio production, print layout, graphic design, web content coordination, web design, etc. Most of my work is geared towards marketing EC to families considering a private school and helping the foundation office with design for various events and publications,” he said. Recently, Justin's job has expanded to helping the Eastern Christian community implement online learning.
How it All Began
However, what many people might not know about Justin is that he, “started taking photos in 8th grade, mostly of nature, friends, or for school projects. When I entered high school, one of my teachers noticed my enjoyment of the field and recommended I turn my love of photography and video creation into a job.” Throughout high school, Justin balanced two jobs as he was, “working at EC since I was a freshman or sophomore. The school rents out the auditorium from time to time for things like recitals, concerts, meetings, etc. and my first job at EC was running tech for those events. EC requires someone from the school to operate the equipment for those events since it’s quite expensive and we want to ensure it is taken care of properly. I started doing ‘official’ photography for the school during my senior year. The person that had previously done the official photography moved away and I was asked to take his place. I was in charge of photography for the yearbook, The Herald, website, brochures, and more. It was a unique opportunity for a high school student to be working on so many projects while in school.” During that time, thanks to one of his teachers, Justin was also able to get another job, “He (the teacher) did some wedding video work on the weekends and he helped me get a job at a local company filming weddings and events. From there, I got more and more into the field of visual communications. I worked for a few different production companies through high school and went to college for Communications & Production. Through college, I maintained my jobs at the production companies and was able to learn a lot through hands on work and exposure to professionals in the field.”
Making Memories for EC Community
Although Justin has been a part of many memories, his favorite part is, “Being able to see what takes place across all of EC. Taking photos around the three campuses and at outside events allows me to see the school from a perspective that not many employees are able to have. Being on three campuses, it’s pretty rare that someone from the North Haledon campus is able to see what happens in preschool, or for someone at the Wyckoff campus to experience a high school chapel. My job allows and often requires me to travel between campuses regularly to capture what’s going on. Being able to see it all is amazing!”
What led Justin to continue working at EC was that he, “Really appreciated my experience at EC, and truly value the Christian worldview that EC helps students build. While in school, I felt like the teachers I had cared for me as a person and brother in Christ, not just a student. The way that a couple of my teachers took time out of their busy days to talk with me when I needed it or encourage me when I was down really changed the way I looked at my faith.
Through the relationships I had with my teachers, I was able to come to a better understanding of what it means to live for Christ, and without them, my personal faith would not be what it is today. That’s why I wanted to work at EC. I want to continue to see the lives of students transformed towards a life of service towards the Kingdom. I would love to have the opportunity to be that mentor for someone else because I know the incredible impact faculty and staff can have.”
Never Missing a Moment
Taking photos for graduations and during the school day, it’s not as easy as it seems. “It feels like stress. It’s really cool being able to participate in those events, but I often find it really stressful to cover important life events because I know if I miss a moment, someone will be disappointed. I try my best to capture what I can, but in the back of my head, I have a million “what if” thoughts about missing important shots.”
Many people might not know that Justin enjoys fishing in his free time. As of late, he also has been enjoying woodworking and gardening.