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Louis Lucci, Photography Student

I was in the Navy as a cryptologic-telecommunications operator, dealing with top-secret computer systems. In 2003, I was aboard the USS George Washington in the Persian Gulf, in the middle of a 12-hour shift, thinking about what I was going to do with my GI Bill opportunity. I ruled out going to school for fine arts because I felt I could learn enough on my own. So I thought, “What’s the next thing that I’d like to learn in life?” And photography was the answer. I went on the internet right there on the aircraft carrier to look up schools in New York. I ended up on FIT’s website and I looked at the examples of photography, and there was something that made me say, “That’s where I’m going to go.”

I’m not really a fashionable kind of guy, so I thought it would be a stretch for someone like me to go to the “Fashion Institute.” But ever since I was old enough to put the words “New” and “York” in the same sentence I’ve said I would live in this city. So, fresh out of the Navy, money in my pocket, I said “I’m just gonna do it.”