I’m excited to share a Uni Life interview with you. The purpose behind this interview series is to give prospective and current students an insight into life at university, what it takes to get there and how to survive. I hope that these interviews will give you a chance to learn from current and recently graduated students about the courses you’re interested in.
Today’s interview is with Yasmin, a Photography student at the University of Wolverhampton.
What course are you studying at university?
I’m studying Photography at the University of Wolverhampton and I have just completed my second year.
Did you have to study specific subjects at college to get onto the course?
At college I studied Art and Design, but my goal at the time was to study fashion design at university. The course was great because I experienced many different creative areas, one of which was photography, but unfortunately I just didn’t enjoy it at the time and I had no plans of pursuing it in the future. It’s funny how things turn out in life.
How did you know this was the right course for you?
In 2014 I went to the Open Day at university to check out the course after becoming more and more interested in photography through blogging. I found out that I would have to do film and darkroom work again so it took me a few days to just sit down and think about whether I wanted to make such a big decision to study something I didn’t enjoy doing at college once again. However, after listening to the lecturers and all the things we would learn I decided it would definitely be worth going for it.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
Working in the studio! It’s definitely one of the best things for me. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but the skills I have learnt so far have helped me improve my work a lot in a short space of time. More recently I have developed a style that I love which can be seen in my Detail series. Also, considering I didn’t enjoy film photography at college, its surprising how much I took to it in the first year. I find the darkroom to be a magical place.
What keeps you motivated?
Being successful and the thought of never having to work for someone else again. Before I started university I was stuck in a job that I didn’t enjoy at all and I never want to go back to that place again. Photography is allowing me to pursue a career that is going to allow me to be creative and work for myself, but more importantly have the choice of who I will work with in the future.
What do you find most challenging about your course?
The projects that I’ve been set haven’t always been easy because they haven’t been a good fit for my style of work. Since starting university I had known that I wanted to be a fashion photographer but very often I’ve had to steer clear of this for the sake of the project brief. In a way this is a good thing because I’ve been able to explore different areas of photography but it’s also made me aware of the type of work I don’t want to do.
Are internships easy to come by in your field?
I would say yes and no. Yes, because there is a careers service at the university who I managed to get my first internship through very easily. No, because I applied to many internships online with no reply from anyone. I think it’s important to develop a good portfolio with a direction first and then apply for internships. A lot of them seem to be in London which for me isn’t any good because I cannot afford to travel or live there.
Please tell us about an internship that you’ve gained something positive from.
My first internship was great because I was able to gain experience of working as part of a professional team and organise shoots based on someone else’s brief rather than just working to a university project. The other positive is that I learned a lot in terms of the things I didn’t want to do in my career. For example, I worked alongside the team at the internship with my own projects as well as theirs. I quickly learned that both of our styles were completely different and I felt the work I was creating for them wasn’t true to who I am. After leaving them the first shoot I did defined my style of photography for the future and the difference has been a massive game changer for me. I have truly found myself.
Do you have any career plans in mind for when you’ve graduated?
My plan is to work for myself. I’ve already started my business, Yasmin Creates with the help of the university. This is where I’m selling my fashion prints, and I’m hoping to work with other creatives and bloggers in the future too.
What do you wish you knew about university life before you started?
How to manage my time! It can be so stressful working on three projects at the same time and trying to do the same amount of work for them all. I guess having the passion for what I do is the most important thing to keep me going.
What advice would you offer to prospective Photography students?
Be prepared for the level of work that will be involved. I think many people who choose to study photography aren’t aware of the amount of historical and contemporary artist research that has to be done, as well as the number of shoots per project. I often end up with two A3 sketchbooks full of research, shoots and annotation per project that all determine the end grade.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love getting creative in other ways. I love to journal, and I’ve also started to paint more recently. I’ve also joined the National Trust and this is great because it gets me out and about, but more importantly it gets me away from digital life and helps me unwind.
Finally, what is your go to meal after a busy day of lectures?
There’s nothing better than an unhealthy trip to Pizza Hut!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Yasmin for taking time out of her busy schedule for Uni Life. I wish her lots of luck in her degree and I can’t wait to see her business grow.