ELLIE WILLKOMM SENIOR HIGHLIGHT

INTERVIEWER: LEXI LEE

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Title: Dancing Light

Purpose: This photograph was taken for my “Creative Light” project junior year.

Inspiration: I was inspired by Brandon Woelfel, a New York based photographer, who always incorporates interesting lighting in his photographs.

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Title: In the Dark, There is Light

Purpose: This photograph is a self-portrait taken for Film/Photo 4H

Inspiration: For this project, I was inspired by many photographers who take Low Key portraits. I love the drastic difference between highlighted areas and completely black areas to create a dramatic portrait.

How do you define art?

Art is extremely subjective and has different definitions depending on who you ask. For me, art is a form of self-expression. Artists across the globe express themselves, their passions, their beliefs, and so much more through creative outlets. Whether it be photography, painting, or ceramics, art creates visual meaning to an artist's inner emotions. As an artist, I have been able to tell stories and spark conversation by simply creating an image.

Who or what was your main inspiration for you photography?

Ever since I was little my mom had always had an interest in photography which was transferred to me, so deciding to take film and photography at Harriton was a no-brainer. Over the past four years, I have been introduced to so many amazing artists and photographers that truly sparked my interest. Learning about photographers such as Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Steve McCurry, made me want to pursue photography. Each artist offers something different to the photography realm, and I wanted to be apart of that. As much as I have thousands of artists to thank for my inspiration, I have definitely gained interest from the photography teachers at Harriton. Each teacher has allowed me to look at photography through a different lens. From starting freshman year with Ms. Jackson, learning the basics of film and photography, to honing in on my skills with Ms. Witman and Mr. Nuñez, I have each teacher to thank.

How did you find your style as an artist?

The people who have seen my work know that I primarily focus on portraits. However, it did not start off like that. Freshman and sophomore year, I was taking pictures of all sorts of things, discovering what I liked and disliked. As time went on, I started to realize that I enjoyed taking pictures of people and capturing their stories. Throughout my junior year, I heavily focused on taking portraits and finding my style and voice. To be quite honest I found my style through trial-and-error. I would look at some of my favorite artists for inspiration and see what I could take from them. Eventually, after trying different technical skills and editing techniques, I began to form my artistic style. As a young artist, I am still working on my style and know it will develop as I gain more knowledge throughout my career.

What advice do you have for underclassmen?

My best advice for underclassmen is to take every opportunity to explore your field of interest. Art is often glazed over as being a less valuable subject than math and science, yet I beg to differ. Through the art classes I have taken in high school, I have gained so much knowledge about the world through different viewpoints. As an artist, I am allowed to take a stand on important issues in the most creative ways possible. Many parents may disapprove of someone pursuing art over medicine. I advise underclassman to stick with their passions regardless of parental and societal backlash. Art is universal in our lives. If you have the chance, take an art class.