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Alumni Highlight: Kariss Farriss

As a 10-year-old girl sat in the stands of Floyd Casey Stadium watching the Baylor Line run the field and the Bears prepare to play, Kariss Hurst knew this sense of school spirit was something she wanted to experience for herself.

Her uncle, Jonathan Evans, BA (Communication Specialist) ‘03, played football for Baylor and her frequent attendance at home games cultivated her love for the Bears.

“We would come up every weekend for the four years that he played,” Farris said. “So, I feel like Baylor was really part of what I remember from growing up.”

Kariss fulfilled her dream of attending Baylor by entering as an Apparel Merchandising major with the aspiration of becoming a fashion designer. During her junior year, she switched her major to Studio Art because she was discovering a desire for a broader arts education that would allow her to refine other artistic skills.

“The studio art major had a little bit of everything, from photography to printmaking, and it just kind of let me get my feet wet in a ton of different areas,” Kariss said. “That general education in arts helps me with photography in the sense of thinking differently and thinking creatively. It really helped me with a general understanding of art and channeling that into what I do, which is photography, and that just makes it better because I have all these mediums to pull from.”

During her junior year, she connected with Baylor alumnus Joshua Farris, BSME (Mechanical Engineering) ‘12. Farris also shared a passion for photography and the two became inseparable.

Joshua began a photography brand and the couple worked together. Josh handled photography, while Kariss created a website, edited photos, and posed clients. They held photography sessions for graduates at Baylor and engagements, and business blossomed. They married in the fall of 2014.

After graduation, Josh landed a job at NASA but expressed his intention to quit photography due to high demands of both jobs. Kariss encouraged him to continue the brand he worked so hard to build. The business continued to flourish, and Josh left his job at NASA at the end of 2016. They became full-time photographers from there. Together, they have built a booming business, photographing figures including former first lady Michelle Obama and Fortune 500 executives.

As husband and wife, they make ideal business partners, with Josh handling the corporate side while Kariss handles the creative side. Kariss photographs everything having to do with love, including weddings, engagements, and babies, while Josh thrives on photographing small businesses, entrepreneurs, and big corporate firms, such as MD Anderson.

“We really balance each other out,” Kariss said. “The way that we work together is wonderful, and it’s just gotten better over the time that we have both been full-time.”

Seven months into their marriage, the couple learned they would be welcoming their daughter Ellie into the world. Four years later, Kariss gave birth to their son, Joshua II.

Kariss cherishes motherhood and faithfully shares pictures of her family on her Instagram, which has over 14,000 followers. She added blogging to her repertoire of creative talents and hopes to use this as an outlet to express her faith, which has driven her to become the woman she is today.

“I just thought, ‘There’s no purpose in being on social media if I’m not screaming the name of the Lord to anybody who comes across my page,’” Kariss said. “My faith has shaped me into the woman I am today because, with everything that I have taken in, I filter it through a Godly lens so that what pours out of me is Godly, as well.”

As Kariss balances being a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman, she hopes the brand will continue to grow so that she will have more time to dedicate to being a wife and mother.

“I think that God puts us where He needs us and that in each place that he puts us, that there’s purpose to be found,” Kariss said.

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