Categorized | Feature

Graduate with professional experience set to attend Pratt to study photography

Stella Kretschmann, cub writer

As summer approaches and offers a new beginning to the graduating class, senior Ilona Slama knows which field of interest to which she is devoted to.

Slama is leaving high school not only seeing a clear vision of her future, but having already shot a photo editorial for an online magazine.

“If I didn’t have photography, I would be miserable,” Slama said.

Photography has even begun to present itself as a viable career option for her.

“[Slama] is only 17 and has already had professional work done for magazines,” friend and fellow senior Rachel Jhar said.

Slama dealt with setting dates, purchasing clothing and Ubering all over town to pick up a guitar in preparation for her shoot.

“Shooting Gabbriette [the model] for Catalogue Magazine was stressful, but also exciting, because I had control over everything. She was really sweet and cooperative. The editorial was published [three weeks ago] and I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

However, Slama’s passion is not solely practiced in her professional course.

“Photography is a huge part of my life. I’m always on the lookout for something to photograph, sometimes without even realizing it…I take pictures every single day, I always have my film or digital camera on me, if not both,” Slama said.

Prior to exploring the fields of photography, Slama exercised many different artistic outlets.

“Before I started doing photography, I was into painting and drawing. I got a little bored by it and wanted to explore new mediums, so I tried photography and have been doing it ever since,” Slama recalled. “It just feels like the right medium for me.”

Slama began the school year with little knowledge of the fundamentals of film photography, but has since gained immense insight into the art form.

“Photography class at Beverly has been amazing. I’ve been taking the beginning and advanced classes simultaneously and have learned so much! I did not know how to develop my own film or use the darkroom before coming to Beverly,” Slama said.

Over time, Slama has grown to be well versed in different aspects of photography.

“She literally does every medium from 35mm film to digital to Polaroids and she creates each piece originally,” Jahr said.

Slama envisions herself ensuing an artistic path.

Of the future, Slama said, “I’m aiming toward creative direction because I like being in control of everything and have a very eccentric taste. I want to creative direct, style and shoot the editorials that I will do in the future.”

But first, she plans to attend school in New York City.

“Pratt’s fine art department is one of the best in the country, and when I visited the school it felt right for me and became my top choice. When I found out that I got in, it was one of the happiest days of my life, because I had spent the past six months freaking out about whether I would even get into college at all since I had only applied to two schools,” Slama said.

“This might be the worst advice ever,” Slama laughed, “but don’t listen to what anybody says about your style or technical skills because photography is art and everyone is meant to be doing it differently. If someone is telling you that you’re not doing it right, then they’re not doing it right. Have your camera with you at all times and always experiment.”

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