Student Union - Mae Williams

Photos © 2000, Mae Williams, All Rights Reserved

Bard College
New York

Mae is a freshman at Bard, planning a dual major, photography and medieval studies.

The Program
"The photography program is a four-year course, and it's very competitive just to get in. The emphasis is definitely on the art side-you have to take art history and history of photography. They encourage you to use all the format types, but they're very big into using 4x5 and larger. One of the requirements is a class in 4x5."

"I'm not sure if photography will be my career. I'm really interested in medieval archeology, too. I'd love it if I could figure out some way of combining photography and medieval archeology."

"Philippe Halsman, Man Ray, Mary Ellen Mark, and Henri Cartier-Bresson."

"I didn't do much portraiture until my sophomore and junior year at St. Paul's School, where I went before Bard. My earlier work was more street-type photography, Cartier-Bresson influenced type of work. Then I got more into studio work, and I liked being able to control and simplify the lighting and backgrounds."

Comfort Level
"The first couple of times I photograph someone the pictures don't come out as well as the third or fourth time, where they relax to the point of not being so self-conscious. I'm talking to them all the time, trying to learn about them so I can get their personalities across."

"It was an assignment at St. Paul's: a self-portrait triptych showing how others see me, who I really am, and who I want to be. I had to think about it for a week or so; then I started sketching ideas and worked from there. I find sketching very helpful. I can be working on something else and think of something for a photo, draw it out very quickly and use that as an idea."

Mae Williams was recommended to us by Charles Lemay, an instructor at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire.

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