In August 2016 FHU photography majors traveled to New York City where they learned from professionals at MILK STUDIOS located in the city’s artist-centered Chelsea neighborhood. The Engaged Learning Initiative (ELI) provided students enrolled in ART 299/399 Fashion Photography the opportunity to step outside of the classroom and experience the life of a professional photographer.
Eleven students participated in the one-week trip, which included class lectures and visits to the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, China Town, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, NYC Subway System, B and H Photo and several other major locations.
In addition to spending 10 hours in the studio, students took portraits of strangers in Central Park and New York City models. They were given the opportunity to capture life on city streets and seek inspiration from New York museums, professional photographers and producers.
Each student presented a series of 20 images from each exercise along with a research paper about a famous photographer from a specific genre of photography. They also had to write a reflection paper about each exercise and how they dealt with each experience.
Faculty: How did you see your students grow or change?
“So many students come into our program lacking the confidence to have a conversation with a complete stranger. This trip allowed them to face the awkwardness of engaging someone, for the first time, face-to-face, to persuade them have their photograph taken. I saw several students gain more confidence not only in their ability to photograph, but also in their ability to interact with others. That skill is so important when managing your own photography business.”
Student: How did participating in the project benefit you?
Savannah McGraw: “The New York trip helped me to become a better photographer by teaching me that every single photograph you take should tell a story. When people see a picture, they should be able to feel the emotion or what it was like to be in that very moment. I had the absolute time of my life. What an amazing experience it was to walk the streets of New York with fellow photographers, taking in all of its people, buildings, music, lights and even smells. It was so fun getting to learn about photography while exploring with your friends.”
Abby Jones: “The understanding, training and maturity that I gained from this trip has and continues to affect my photography and my life significantly. I could not ask for better people to grow with, or for a better experience. I will take this trip in my heart wherever I go, and for the rest of my days.”
Josh Sells: “Friday was the best part of the entire trip. We got to shoot in MILK Studios with actual models, equipment and tech people. This was the day that I think I grew the most as a photographer. I learned a lot about what it would be like to shoot as a fashion photographer, which is what I’d really like to do one day. I also discovered that I’m actually pretty good at working with and befriending models. One of the top models, Clare Crawford, and I became best friends. Through my friendship with her, I have been able to make great contacts in the industry. This part of the trip was a huge self-esteem boost for me and gave me the confidence I needed for taking on my future career.”