Four weeks, 30 hours a week: this time and more spent constantly creating. In a city that constantly is in motion, this program stays inherently true to the non-stop cliché of New York City. The printing, the shooting, and the critiques, never one moment is dull. And now on our third week into the program, the struggles and crunch time happens more frequently; and with this, my improvements I have made are unfathomable.
To give a little back-story, I would like to rewind to the months before the program for a brief moment. From the 200 students within the Tisch program this summer (including the sixteen photography students), everyone had to contemplate the expense of the program and how and if they would be able to come. For those of you thinking about coming to the program next summer, do not let an amount get in your way. In my personal situation, I worked four jobs (at a boutique, fitness center, lawn care service, and personal babysitter) in order to pay for half of my expenses. I found great support within my community to pay for the other portions. All adding up to a great deal of work, but so rewarding in the end.
Now I am here, at Tisch, in a place I have dreamt of being at, and the creativity is at an all time high. Week after week producing a new project, some times I get to the point I feel, “is there anything left?” The answer is yes! After the initial shock of knowing I have to come up single handedly with a concept to shoot and develop ten rolls of film (360 frames) within a weeks time, and on top of that creating at least 10 final prints for that image–– it is easy to imagine a concept. With the help of our skillful TA’s and teachers, our completely complex ideas get simplified down into a simple masterpiece.
With projects, the immense amount of struggles I can typically ignore or fix with a quick patch become intensified. As it comes down to the last few hours of studio (as it did for me tonight), we begin to get rushed and forget to do proper techniques at times. The time this becomes an issue is in the dark room more then any other. Instead of doing the proper amounts of time, or proper test strips to find exposures, we accidently mix chemistry and go through 1,250 pieces of paper in just under one week; all results of time. And on top of the stress of printing, we lastly have to hang our prints for our critique the following morning (which is tomorrow for us). Having to choose between what prints to hang, how to hang them, and the minor details of presentation add another dimension to the stress. For me, and many others, the stress continues as we go back to the dorms and our summer homework from our high schools builds up, and the assignments from class become a big part of our night as well.
Taking away all the stress; in the matter of a few weeks I have learned more about photography, and myself, then I have my entire life. I have been able to explore myself as an artist and how I feel towards myself more then ever before. My ability to choose what I want to do within the next year has been more solidified. Lastly, I would have never been able to experience living in New York City and in such a great location without being in this program. Allowing me to go to spider-man (which I highly recommend never seeing), great field trips around the city, and the best part: an unlimited metro card!
All in all, deciding to take multiple jobs and writing paper after paper and traveling all over my town to recruit sponsorship has been the best choose I have ever made. Yes, I did it all just to add more stress to my plate, but in my mind I wouldn’t be learning without the stress and pushing myself to my furthest point. I love what I have learned so far, and the process is still not done.