Featured image courtesy of Julia Webb
Meet Julia Webb, a junior photography major here at Kent State. Julia is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography as well as a Bachelor of Arts in dance and is currently the photography intern for the Kent State football team. Her career goals entail combining her two passions for photography and dance by entering the world of dance photography. She also aspires to do hip-hop choreography and someday work as a photographer with National Geographic.
Julia is originally from the small town of Lodi, Ohio. In her spare time, she enjoys taking and editing photos for fun, hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, crafting and painting. She also loves hiking and biking and frequently takes her camera with her on hikes to snap some quality nature shots. Julia’s fun fact: she has a pet bearded dragon named Rigby!
Last week, I sat down with Julia and chatted about her schedule and her life as a photographer. Hearing her talk about her classes and the intricacies of her craft was so interesting! Read on to experience for yourself a busy day in the life of a photography major.
A Day in the Life
Wednesday, 6:00 a.m.
Julia wakes up at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesdays to get ready for a long day of meetings and classes. In the mornings, she likes to leave herself time for breakfast and a cup of tea to help wake her up.
7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
First thing in the morning, Julia has a meeting for her internship with the Kent State football team, where she does the promotional photography for the team. She takes photos of the team when they are lifting, practicing, playing games and attending special events. She also edits photos if needed. Her photos are then published on the team’s social media pages.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Motion Design Class
Next, Julia heads to her virtual Motion Design class. In the class, she learns how to make animations using a program called Adobe After Effects.
“It’s challenging, because it requires a lot of experimentation,” she says. “The animations are often only a few seconds up to a minute so overall pretty short. First, we do sketches of our ideas, then present them to see which one our professor likes the best. Then we do a storyboard layout that includes drawing a sketch of every movement that we want to create in the animation. Then we sketch again on Procreate or on Adobe Illustrator, transfer the sketches to Adobe After Effects, make a separate layer for each moving part, then start animating. It’s a somewhat complicated process, but the end result is really fun.”
10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Fashion Photography Class
Then on to another virtual class: Fashion Photography. For this class, Julia works with the fashion majors and models at Kent State to photograph clothing designs. The projects range from in-studio work to on-location shoots in which the photographers scout locations for photoshoots. The students must then present their work to their professor in work in progress critiques.
“The third and final project will be a creative one with no boundaries, so we can get more creative with that one. I’m really looking forward to it,” Julia says.
1:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.
After a short break for lunch, Julia heads to the Center for the Performing Arts for a ballet technique class. Ballet class includes a warm up, work at the barre and a center portion followed by jumps. COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, so dance classes still require physical distancing and mask wearing, but a new change this semester is that the dancers can travel across the floor again instead of staying within 10 foot by 10 foot boxes. This results in more freedom to dance and move.
2:40 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Break and Photoshoots
After her afternoon ballet class, Julia heads back to her apartment for a quick snack. Her breaks are typically when she fits in photoshoots, both for classes and for fun. She cites the architecture building as one of her favorite spots on campus for photos.
5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Rehearsal for Dance Concert
Julia will perform in this year’s virtual B.F.A. Student Dance Concert/Student Dance Festival with the Kent Dance Division.
“It’s really fun and the concept is interesting. I really like the piece so far,” Julia says. “We learned the whole dance very quickly, so lately we’ve just been running through it and working on spacing and timing.”
Dinner and Homework
To finish off her day, Julia returns home, cooks herself dinner and does homework. Other classes she is taking this semester include:
- Jazz Styles II, where she is learning about hip hop dance, history and culture
- Dance Mechanics, where she is learning about anatomy and physiology and how it relates to dance and injury prevention
- Dance and Technology, which is about entrepreneurship as a dancer and how to promote yourself using technology
- Social Media Strategies, where she is learning how businesses use social media and how to implement strategies to make social media more effective for businesses
After finishing her homework, Julia finally heads to bed!
Q: What other classes have you had to take as a photography major?
A: A few other photography classes I’ve taken are Photo Technology, Photo History, Photographic Perspectives, Color Photography and Architectural Photography. In the basic Photography I class, you learn how to use the camera settings. In Photography II, you learn how to take photos using the basic LED lights that stay on the whole time, and in Advanced Photography, you learn how to use the more complicated strobe lights that flash when you take pictures. My favorite was Advanced Photography, because even though we got assigned a certain project, there was a lot of creative space and a lot of experimentation, so I got to learn what style I really like to do.
Q: When did you decide that you wanted to go into photography?
A: I always had a strong interest in photography. Even when I was little, my mom bought me one of those kid cameras that actually took photos, and I always used it. As I got older, I would go around everywhere taking photos on my iPod or 3DS. Then, for my 16th birthday, my mom bought me a professional camera with lenses and a case and everything. Since then, I started taking my camera everywhere. In high school, I took a digital design class and learned how photoshop worked and how to take photos. I absolutely loved it, and I think that’s when photography really turned from a hobby into a passion for me.
Q: What is it that draws you to photography?
A: Normally when you walk around, you see people just go through their day, but there is so much beauty to be found in the things that people don’t stop to notice. For me, photography is a way to capture those things that people don’t always see.
Q: What is the hardest part of being a photography major?
A: Especially with the double major and being so busy, the hardest thing is just finding the time to be able to reshoot constantly. For a lot of the critiques from professors, there are specific things you have to fix in your photos and so you have to try to get in the studio as fast as you can to take those photos again. You basically repeat that process until you have your final product.
Q: What advice would you have for aspiring photography majors?
A: My advice is just don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Try any ideas that you want to try. Experiment with different kinds of lights. Basically just don’t be afraid to get creative. Especially with photography and the fact that a lot of people are starting to do the same things nowadays, it can be hard to try different things. Just go out there and go for it!
Q: How has the pandemic affected your student life?
A: We don’t meet in person anymore for the photo classes, which has affected a lot. We’ve only met in person once to do one lighting setup example. Other than that, we don’t get to learn different lighting techniques in person; it’s all virtual descriptions, so we have to experiment on our own instead. The photography studios in Taylor Hall have limited hours now because of COVID, and that has made it even harder to find studio time. I just have to go in when I can and hope that I get enough material to carry on through my classwork. Overall, it has really been a struggle. Not being in the studio for almost a year took a lot mentally, and it made me have to rethink my whole process.
“Sometimes when people ask about me and I say that I’m a photography major, they say, ‘What do you plan on doing with that? You can’t do anything with photography anymore.’ It disappoints me, but at the same time, I try to remember that there will always be a need for photographers. Nowadays people think that anyone can be a photographer by using their phone camera, but it is still important to have people that know the proper techniques and how to use the camera settings and how to set up lights. It all goes into being able to capture those perfect moments. It makes me want to show people how to appreciate art more through my photography.”
Julia’s work and philosophy are such a great reminder of the power of art. Keep your eye out for Julia in the B.F.A. Student Dance Concert/Student Dance Festival April 23 through April 25. You can find her photos and follow her journey on Instagram at @julia_marie77.
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Sierra Severt is a freshman dance performance major with minors in arts entrepreneurship and professional and technical writing. She has been dancing since she was three years old, is a company member of the Kent Dance Ensemble and hopes to join a professional dance company in the future. Alongside her dance career, she loves reading and writing, and she aspires to write for a dance magazine someday. When she is not dancing, writing or studying, Sierra loves listening to music, doing yoga, baking and drinking chai lattes. This is Sierra’s second semester working for The Burr, and she is excited to see what opportunities this semester brings. You can follow her on Instagram @sierra_s__ or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.