Northwestern student photographers share creative visions and inspirations

Photo courtesy of Sophia Liu

A portrait of Collin Porter, student photographer, taken by Sophia Liu. Liu is a board member of the Panorama Photography Club and one of the many NU students who express their creativity through photography.

The photographic lens captures subjects in a diverse world teeming with visual possibilities.
It fulfills the role of great art and keen observation. It feeds collective and personal memory; it documents everything from relationships to athletics.

And for many Northwestern student photographers, the practice is a creative outlet and a way to share their unique perspectives on the world. The Department of Art Theory and Practice offers an introductory photography course, but it focuses solely on film photography to produce high quality black and white prints. In the absence of digital photography classes, students turn to outside education or the only specific photo club on campus – the Panoramic Photography Club.

The club creates a community of photographers and provides a space to learn, said Sophia Liu, a sophomore from Weinberg, a member of the club’s board of directors. The club facilitates free camera rental for students and hosts virtual tutorials on its Facebook page. Soon the club will resume organizing workshops to teach students photography skills. Before the pandemic, the club held photo trips in downtown Chicago.

Liu quickly fell in love with photography in high school, after her father bought his first camera. The couple bonded around a shared passion for taking photos in the woods near their home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Over time, Liu developed a unique “eye” or artistic vision for his subjects. Specifically, she said she was drawn to the flaws and the stories behind them, like a broken window.

“I love this outlet for my creativity,” Liu said. “It allows me to capture something the way I see it and show others how I see the world. “

Weinberg’s sophomore collin Porter, another photographer, hopes to get more involved with the club in the coming quarters.

Before delving into single lens DSLR photography, Porter started out as a drone photographer, capturing from above hills, forests and windmills in his hometown of Williamsport, Penn. Porter’s drone footage also helped his high school marching band hone his trainings.

Porter treats photography as a side activity, occasionally taking portraits of elderly people. One day, he hopes to have his prints hung in an art gallery. Part of Porter’s style is to transform the common object or subject matter and show it in a new light.

“The approach is to see what creative things I can do with things that people might see everyday,” Porter said. “Recently I took a bunch of pictures of the fall colors on campus, and I took the opportunity to approach it from different angles and experiment with color editing, trying to see how I could change it. and raise it above the level of the mundane. “

McCormick’s sophomore Joshua Jung always carries a camera so he can document everyday life. Jung has five cameras, and each serves a specific purpose. Photography is Jung’s passion, and it’s a small source of income that he hopes can offset the costs of this expensive hobby.

“I always have a camera with me to try to capture those very fleeting but very special moments if you capture them,” Jung said. “One of my favorite things to do is give back to my friends by always taking pictures and sharing them. If I could continue documenting stories like this, I would be happy.

A high school photography class introduced the craft to Weinberg, Weinberg sophomore Adam Leif.

While Leif doesn’t usually approach a topic with the intention of capturing a specific emotion, he said he wanted to challenge himself by going in that direction, creating more conceptual images.

“I think what makes me proud are the photos that I don’t have to touch up too much,” said Leif. “If I see something that looks cool (or) pretty to me, you have times when you see stuff and you’re like, ‘This is really something. “”

Liu distinguishes his photography in particular thanks to a varied use of the aperture (the amount of light allowed in the camera) which allows a more selective focus in his images. Her equipment makes that easy – she uses vintage film lenses with digital camera converters that have large apertures, which allow for greater depth of field. Using smaller apertures is useful for reducing focus, as many portraits require.

Ultimately, Liu said she enjoyed walking around with her camera, capturing nature, and using different features like trees to frame her subjects.

“I would describe myself as a fairly observant person,” Liu said. “With photography, I am able to show the little things that I notice. “

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Twitter: @JackAustinNews

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