April 11, 2021

My high school art class and how I became inspired to shoot portraits

It was during my senior year of high school that I decided to sign up for an Advanced Placement art class. Not really knowing what to expect, I imagined that it would be interesting and at the same time fun. It wasn’t until soon after attendig the first class that I realized an art class, well…dealt with arts. Painting, sketching, and other mark making techniques were a big part of this class. I’ll be the first one to admit that when it comes to these types of media, I was lacking both the talent and the drive.

For those of you who aren’t aware, to pass an “AP” art class, a portfolio of your best work is required. This portfolio is to include works exhibiting different techniques, and also a number of works displaying a concentration on a certain underlying idea or element. When I learned of this, I began to worry and fear that I would not pass. Unsure of what to do, I turned to my love of photography in hopes it would help me to pass. I had a lot of experience with photography and many photographs that exemplified my creative breadth; the hard part would be however to figure out my concentration. I struggled to figure out some sort of distinct, continuous idea that could be present throughout a series of photographs . It was a few weeks later when an idea popped into my head: I had remembered an old location where I once visited that was very unique and interesting. I asked a good friend of mine if she would model for this shoot, and with her acceptance it all began. These photographs were the end result:

Full set here!


My project focus was thus born! Once I had seen the results and was very happy with the outcome, I knew what I wanted to do. I think the best way to explain it is this: the underlying idea is simply that these are models who are out of their element. To go a little more in depth, I really have tried to focus on a visually contrasting scene: not just with colors, lights, shadows, etc. but with the idea and an essence.  Once I had developed that idea in my head I went on from there. I began to think of more ideas and start shooting more of these photos. Not only did I acquire these images for my portfolio, but I also began to really love portraiture photography and the idea of it.

Ever since then I have continued taking these “unique” portraits not just for my portfolio, but also because I love it. Below are some more images that I have recently taken in which I have tried to incorporate that similar, underlying idea. To view all of my images, click here!



All of these photos are strictly medium driven and will continue to be. I love shooting film over digital, and I really think that film helps push my concentration in the right direction. I guess you could say that my desire to figure out a focus for my work has lead me to this inspiration and new love of portraiture photography. I will continue to update with my new works and stories. I hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!

– Drew

P.S.  don’t forget to check out all of the full sets here!


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