Capturing the Moment
Spotlight Date:November 24, 2014
After receiving a camera as a 9th birthday present, Dreyfoos senior Rachel Ruston began taking photographs constantly and making movies of her life and neighborhood friends. After photography classes at Bak Middle School of the Arts, Rachel knew she wanted to pursue it at Dreyfoos as a Digital Media student.
Although Rachel also experiments with printmaking and film, she primarily shoots digital photography with natural light, influenced by photojournalism and the National Geographic magazines she grew up reading. “I like to document the quiet moments, the ones that are not obviously life-changing, but that are simple and are not calling for attention. I find that these photographs are the most special to me because they are authentic and share a private moment with the viewer. A lot of my recent photography is based in Alaska where I was born and my father currently lives. I traveled back there over winter break last year and this past summer.”
Rachel feels lucky to be able to develop her skills as a photographer at Dreyfoos, stating that “Students do not compete against one another, but instead challenge each other to reach their full potential. I love that we are allowed to be our true selves and explore many different creative processes. It's a safe environment that constantly challenges us and allows us to find out what kind of artist we hope to be.”
With assistance from the Foundation’s Ray of Light program, Rachel was able to further her education through a precollege program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she got to see firsthand what attending an art college would be like. There she studied fashion photography, street photography, drawing, printmaking, and book arts.
At Dreyfoos, Rachel has participated in numerous portfolio reviews from visiting colleges, something her home school would not have offered her. “These portfolio reviews have influenced me immensely; I always walk away with more ideas for my portfolio which really inspires me to make more art.” Through these reviews, the guidance of Digital Media Dean Peter Stodolak, and attending the yearly trip to New York Colleges that the Visual Art and Digital Media departments offer, Rachel has decided to pursue photography in college and hopes “to have an impact in the future through my photography allowing people to see the world through my lens.”
For Rachel, “Dreyfoos means a safe haven, specifically building 9. It is a place where I can express myself and also discover who I hope to be. Dreyfoos has allowed me to receive an excellent education in both the arts and academics. I developed friendships that now feel like family.”