Eight photographers were admitted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program for the spring 2012 semester.
“As a BFA, I really have to push myself in my future work and strive to be a role model for new photographers,” said third-year photography major Linda Edwards, one offered into the BFA.
She said being accepted makes her feel that she’s finally on the right track as far as her education and career are concerned.
Edwards was first drawn to photography in middle school during a summer arts camp and has used it as her creative medium ever since. Though she originally expressed herself through drawing, her inability to do realistic work made photography a perfect alternative.
“Photography was a way to completely capture one’s essence and put my own spins and twists on it,” said Edwards.
Edwards had to apply for the visual arts program during her freshman year. She said she already understands the pressure accompanied with submitting work for criticism, explaining that it enhances her drive, knowing she is one of the 125 students selected.
“Having to apply into the art department instead of simply going into college and declaring you’re an artist makes you have to work for it and realize that you can’t always get what you want,” she said.
Edwards said she realizes the vast difference between studying photography on a Bachelor of Science (BS) level and completing a BFA.
“A lot more pressure is put on BFA students than BS students. Not only do we have to prove to our professors that we deserve it, we must prove ourselves to our fellow majors and upcoming photography students,” said Edwards.
Although she is beginning her journey in the BFA program, Edwards said she has grown considerably as an artist over the past two years studying photography at a BS level. She said her artwork and their concepts have matured and her years of study at New Paltz have helped her form meaning in her photographs.
“Being [here has] made me think conceptually and really gave me a purpose to my work, instead of just taking pictures for the sake of doing so,” said Edwards.
Like many artists, Edwards’ work comes from what she has experienced.
“My main inspiration for art is primarily based on my…own life,” said Edwards. “This usually pertains to memories, strong emotions or inspirations I draw from the work of photography greats.”
Edwards said she hopes to teach photography at the college-level one day. Though she has experience teaching classes on middle-school levels and assistant teaching at both high school and college levels, she said she feels college students have much more passion, interest and drive.
Though photography is a competitive field, Edwards does not let it discourage her. She said she pursues it simply because she loves it.
“My grandfather always told us that, ‘If you do something you love every day, you’ll never work a day in your life,’” said Edwards.