Graphic Design Major Is Getty Images Contributor and Photographer’s Forum Finalist
February 26, 2013
Julie Smith's first photo that ignited her passion for photography.
Julie Smith ’14 has always had a penchant for photography. She has dreamt of it, seen it up-close in magazines, and marveled at the best photographers. But, she has only seen it from afar, through someone else’s eyes. Until one day, last spring, when she had the confidence to reveal her images to the world in a solo exhibition at the School of Design. And, in that moment, when she opened the doors to critics, she was pleasantly surprised.
“Graphic Design has introduced me to a new side of photography with digital editing that has given me the ability to learn so many different skills and techniques,” said Smith. “When I first began taking photos, I only used myself as a model and was embarrassed to ask anyone else for help. Now, from listening to my supportive professors for feedback, I enjoy pushing the limits and I am much more confident in taking risks.”
Smith’s desire to tell a story with photography and graphic design was ignited during her first year at Mount Ida. In her down time, she frequented online communities of user-made artwork. Then, finally decided to experiment by posting one of her own photos to Facebook, which is where it all began.
“The first photo that I unveiled was bold and slightly unnerving,” she said. “It was a black and white photo with the shape of a human heart, almost bursting out of my chest, in color. From the number of comments I received, I was encouraged to identify new graphic design techniques to apply to my photos, such as layer masking in Adobe Photoshop.”
Chosen for Getty Images
In a photo shoot last summer, back in Smith’s hometown of Charlestown, Rhode Island, she enlisted her family and friends as her subjects. Taking photos at her house, on the beach, and in the woods made for a lot of early mornings and late evenings. Smith, however, was determined to convey new ideas through these photos.
Her hard work paid off in the fall 2012 when she was approached by Getty Images, a stock photo agency in partnership with Flickr. They offered to pay Smith for her images – a major accomplishment for graphic design students everywhere. In particular, three of her images from her photo sets were chosen: Off to Neverland, Horizon, and How Do You Know.
Practice Makes Perfect
Soon after Getty Images, Smith entered the Photographer’s Forum College Photo Contest and was selected as a finalist among 16,000 entries for her photo called Irony. Smith originally entered this contest with the motivation of simply completing a class project.
“When I entered, I had no intention of winning anything. To think that they picked one of my images is absolutely insane,” stated Smith. “Learning that I was chosen as a finalist has given me the reassurance I need to continue making art. It’s what I love doing and can’t wait to see what’s next.”