Hello, and thank you for checking me out!
Although I come from the windy city, Chicago, I graduated from high school in 2014 at an amazing boarding school called Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana. I received my MA in Business Management & Marketing as well as my BA (Hons) Photography & Digital Media at Bath Spa University (in Bath, England). You're probably wondering why a young American decided to move to a different country in the first place. Click here for a better understanding on why I decided to cross the pond for University! Also, check out the video below to see how I was doing in first year.
Beyond taking photos, I have a passion for making ideas come to life. I thoroughly enjoy taking unique portraits, creating content for businesses and badass social media accounts, travel, documentary, and working with people (+ dogs). Photography lets me play within these realms, making my "work" more like play. I enjoy what I do and love studying in the field I love. I have created all of the images/visual content on this site, unless clearly stated within a caption. The visual world is my playground and I thankful to be a part of the creative workforce everyday.
In eighth grade, I picked up my mom’s old Minolta camera and signed up for Black and White Film class. It was a limited class that was crammed into a tiny classroom and darkroom. My first photographer friend, Aisling Rowland, and I roamed roofs, alleys, and parking garages of uptown finding shadows to shoot. My lab partner was my first boyfriend, and thanks to him, I learned a lot. He pried the tops of film canisters with his eight-grade strength, but let me do all the ‘intellectual heavy lifting’. So when it came to the darkroom, I was an expert. Composition was a confusing and intangible aspect for me, I had not revealed my inner photographer just yet. I soon realized that Aisling’s Nikon DSLR offered an opportunity to enhance my composition, as I was able to get real-time feedback on what my images looked like. As Christmas approached, I only wanted one item. I pleaded to my parents that “they wouldn’t have to buy me anything else for years”. My eagerness that Christmas morning was colossal, but the smile on my face as I ripped open that Nikon D5000 was permanent.
My skills grew while my Nikon and I went everywhere. I began to understand composition through using my preview screen. I recognized the beauty of light, and how to manipulate it, leading me effectively capture pictures with more depth and meaning. It felt amazing. When I first learned composition, I created beautiful images. But when I uncovered photographer’s recognition, that was the moment my inner photographer was born and everything made sense. Realizing that photography was the source of my joy, I decided to pursue it with passion.
I then left for boarding school at Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana. There, I discovered another partner in crime, Noah Trevino. We ran around campus taking pictures, but soon felt trapped. Not being able to leave campus put a damper on our creative ventures, so we came up with a plan to start a business to take senior photo shoots. We developed affordable prices, social media outlets and advertised our new businesses. We worked as a team during individual and group shoots. We split revenues, edited separately, and delivered the product to our customers via Dropbox. Our businesses grew and the experience gave me a taste of what it would be like to be a photographer in the real world. I enjoyed the organization and the reward of building a business. Going to a school where my peers are applying to college to become doctors, lawyers and business people, considering studying art wasn’t necessarily popular. Fortunately, I have adults in my life that supported me in apply to continue into my undergrad and study my passion.
Seeing my Christmas list each year morph from clothing, purses, and jewelry, into tripods, flashes, and Photoshop CS6, I knew I had found my desire. I wanted to continue to expand my photography knowledge and to focus on both documentary/personal and commercial photography. My multi-cultural boarding school and travel has prepared me well to flourish and excel as a university student. I wanted to bring my creative, outgoing and curious student mind to share with other like-minded students. I was then left adding something really important to my Christmas list in 2013, a letter in my mailbox from Bath Spa University that began with “Congratulations Alena,”