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Department Of Design

First Person: ‘Photography Helps Me Express My Love For God’s Creations’

Photo & Lens-Based Design Student Emma Olson Shares the Connection She Feels Between Her Faith and Her Career

Emma Olson, Photo by Emma Olson

One night when I was about three years old, I was laying on the trampoline outside stargazing with my dad. We talked about how God created everything, which had me very curious.

“Everything? Even hot dogs?” I asked my dad. “Even hot dogs,” he replied (without delving into the details of Oscar Meyer’s role in the creative process).

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with God’s creations and the ability He has given us to create. Somehow I have always known that my dream job would involve creating.

In April 2022, I decided to pursue photo & lens-based design as my major. This program is relatively competitive, involving two rounds of applications. I knew I would have to work hard to get in.

I spent the next year developing technical skills and taking the necessary classes to apply. One of the most important things I learned is that every photo or moving image I create should have a purpose or communicate a message.

"Orange Girl," Photo by Emma Olson

As I prepared to submit my application, I pushed myself to think outside the box and create photos that I wouldn’t typically consider. For example, in the self-portrait pictured here, I decided to have some fun with one of my most defining physical characteristics—my hair color.

In June 2023 I was accepted into the program. My career goal is to pursue work in landscape and documentary photography/cinematography while also being a mother. Because photography helps me express and deepen my love and respect for God’s creations, I feel it is a bridge between my faith and my career.

I am thrilled for the adventures and learning that await!

Editor’s note: Student submissions have been changed from "Author My Story” to "First Person.” Submit your story through this portal.

Oregon Coast, Photo by Emma Olson