Boilermaker who…contends, creatively and controversially

Name: Corinne FeightCorinne

Majors: Professional Writing and Photography

Graduates: May 2013

What advice do you have for students trying to break into the creative industry?

An online portfolio or a .pdf file is necessary nowadays days to include on your resume, especially if you have huge projects that you can’t easily cart into an interview. There are so many things that you aren’t told your freshman year. Although Purdue’s fine arts photography program trains you to develop these huge concepts and brilliant ideas, but when you graduate and get into the industry, no one is going to pay you to shoot whatever you want. So you have to have something to back your credibility.

I spoke to someone who recommended that working in small places allows you to wear many hats because the skills you learn are immeasurable and invaluable. So that taught me it’s okay to start small and not to be afraid to get my feet wet in all parts of the industry to figure out the best fit.

Share a little about the photography competition you just won.

The Purdue Undergraduate Exhibition which took place in February displayed in Pao Hall and anybody in the field no matter the medium could enter and I entered my photography series “Nakeds”. Half of the entries were photos, so it was an honor to be rewarded via scholarship money, a plaque that goes next to my work after the reception, and it stayed up through the duration of the showing.

What was the inspiration for the “Nakeds” piece?

Junior year, I became interested in female commentaries and the societal expectation and conformity of females. So I wanted to focus in on combating the forces of the “American beauty standard” of the blond haired, blue eyed girl. All of these ideas are compounded in “Nakeds”, where I essentially strip away everything and just have the female form in itself and this body image idea which the media tries so hard to make us think that we need to be a certain way. So shooting a completely volunteer-based group of girls and have them stand for a profile shot, which is sideways, because that is the most unflattering way for a woman to stand. One of the most interesting twists of this project was that although I shot 17 girls, only featured were 15 models. And I had girls that thought they were in the show that actually weren’t  So it showed how similar we are, even though we may say I’m not like this girl or that girl, but when it comes down to it we can’t even tell ourselves apart.

How do you feel about the potential controversial view of your work?

A huge part of my development was to make myself and other people uncomfortable; so that’s a huge part of what drives my work. The idea that it makes other people uncomfortable is almost paramount. And I know that it’s controversial because I want to throw these stereotypes in people’s faces and say “Why does this bother you”? Showing these different ideas portrayed by the media, makes people confront and question their own ideas. So by putting these ideas out there, people are automatically going to judge them, because it’s an innate response. And I’m hoping that while their thinking, they begin to question, “Well, why do I think this?” and they can assess what they believe and take a second glance at these stereotypes that are so ingrained in society. So winning that award validated my work in a sense that people understood what I was trying to accomplish, where I was coming from and agreed with me.

What is the ideal work environment for your transition into industry?

I’m really into the innovative and a place that is striving to be the best so that puts me in line with advertising companies. I read a book for my English 306 class called the Medici Effect by Frans Johansson that talks about making new, creative ideas and that all these ideas already exist, but we have to find combinations and ways to put them together. Marcel Duchamp is an artist that took a ready-made object and made it new…made it art.

So I want to work cross-functionally with different groups across the company – knocking down the cubicles, so to speak, in a collective environment with team meetings to brainstorm every Friday or on a daily basis where everyone is working in tandem. The goal is to break barriers to be able to think outside the box. Ideally, I want to work with people who don’t necessarily think like me or come from my same culture or the same field or background as me.  Working in an inclusive environment, where even as a new employee, I am allowed to have a voice and feel comfortable bringing my ideas to the table.

How does the work you’ve done tie into your future endeavors?

When I first came to Purdue, I wasn’t sure what to do with Photography, but New York has always been the end goal. I came in wanting to do editing at a publishing company, which is still a really big passion of mine. But at the same time, I’ve also put so much time and energy into developing my design and photographic eye, so I want to combine those. So I’m interested in the innovative and cutting edge advertising companies that will allow me create things that make people react and have an opinion about things. I’m also looking into Magazine companies that do work that aligns with my ideals and allows me to focus on not just my design work, but also my writing.

Corinne, congratulations on your various achievements, upcoming graduation, and all of your future endeavors! Boiler Up!

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