Name: Ana Medina Fetterman
Type of Project: Creative and Artistic Endeavors
Portfolio link: http://anamedinaphotography.com
- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
The aim of my STEP project was to devote myself to my photography during the summer of 2016. I invested in new equipment, connected with individuals in the industry, and, most importantly, built my own online portfolio to showcase my work.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
My STEP project enabled me to pursue one of my long-term aspirations at a more professional level. Reaching out and networking with others in the field –models, both student and professional photographers, not only gave me a deeper understanding of the difficulties of the field, but led to my development as a young, more confident artist. Completing my STEP experience pushed me to build my work in a serious way and to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I encouraged myself to shoot photographs with like-minded individuals, reach out to photographers about their experiences in the field, and ultimately create a cohesive body of work. My portfolio, which is now on my website, allows me to further connect with individuals in the field by showcasing my work. STEP gave me the opportunity to push my boundaries and enable me to take my passion seriously at the financial level. It was an extremely rewarding experience to complete a project from start to finish and to devote so much time to something that I feel passionately about.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.
One goal I set for myself, for my STEP project, was to interact with likeminded individuals in the art community. Progress in art is often made by pushing oneself out of a comfort zone. The main objective of my project was to invest in my passion in the hopes that I could begin to work at a professional level in photography. Since I am often surrounded by students of varying interests, and only know a few artists at Ohio State, I was able to learn a lot by surrounding myself with other individuals in the field. Connections with others in the field, at least in the fashion world, are imperative to success. I reached out to professional photographers to get their advice in the field. I was often told that the biggest impediment to success was not having the perseverance to pursue photography long-term: success is not immediate. I also reached out to amateur models in the Chapel Hill area and was able to work with a number of individuals to simultaneously build both of our portfolios. The art industry is rather interesting in that models will sometimes pay photographers and photographers will sometimes pay models. There is a complex dynamic in field—making money as a photographer means that you have to be talented and market yourself well. Otherwise, starting out in the industry can be expensive. In many cases, I would just email professional photographers about their experiences, while I was also able to meet up with several young people who were attempting to work in the field as well. It was inspiring to meet other models, amateur photographers, and professional photographers with the same aspirations and artistic views and helpful to know how others were pursuing their artistic endeavors in the real world.
The final showcase of my STEP project is my digital portfolio. I purchased an annual subscription to squarespace.com and spent some time teaching myself new editing techniques on Adobe Lightroom. Having a professional digital portfolio is essential in the art world. As you reach out to fellow artists, potential employers and/or clients, or mentors, it is common that people ask to see your work in digital form. A digital portfolio gives you a building block from which to market yourself and gain new photographic experiences. I found that once I began to showcase my portfolio, individuals were a lot more receptive to working with me. I was able to shoot every weekend and most afternoons during my time in Chapel Hill, and I know that I progressed as an artist at a far faster pace than I normally do during the academic year.
Lastly, my STEP project inspired me to do a lot of research concerning what type of equipment I will need in the future to shoot different types of scenes. I did quite a bit of online research about the financial investments and most important steps for advancing in the field. I developed a more thorough understanding of the steps that I should take to continue to grow as a photographer: I will need to continue to network with individuals who have succeeded in my field, develop a “niche” body of work, and continue to invest in my gear regularly. Photographers are not necessarily praised for building a breadth of work; developing a specific talent and theme is more important. STEP allowed me to do some in-person and online research to discover more about the field to enable me to build a more cohesive long-term plan for my involvement in the fashion and portraiture industry. Additionally, I was able to work on my technical skills and meet a number of other artists in the Chapel Hill area, which both inspired and allowed me to grow from my work.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
Photography has been a long-time interest of mine. I first began photographing in high school in my spare time. In the past several years, it blossomed into a lifelong passion. With other academic interests and restraints, it has often been difficult to devote the time and resources to my work. However, this project not only gave me the resources to grow as a photographer, but also to view my work from a new perspective. Since I often photographed for fun, I have only recently begun to learn about the commercial world of photography and the expectations in the field, and to take an objective look at my own work. While I am also pursuing other academic interests in school, I know that I am interested in pursuing photography professionally, if only part-time. This project launched me into the start of marketing myself commercially as a photographer, taking my work more seriously, developing more technical expertise, and becoming more informed about the realities of the industry.