In a Photographer’s Shoes

“I truly believe that to get to know yourself, you must isolate yourself from those and that which you are familiar with,” says Taylor Schuelke, senior art and French major at Central College.

She has done just that during the fall semester. Schuelke left the familiarity of Central behind to study and intern in the nation’s capital. She is taking in the culture, life and “suit-and-tie” world of this ultra-urban city through the lens of her camera.

Schuelke chose to study in Washington, D.C., because the culture is completely different from Iowa’s. She got an internship with Ventana Productions, a full-service film production company.  There, she is learning every aspect of the business—script supervising, storyboards, pre-production research, equipment setup, script supervision, music choice, transcriptions and logging of footage. She also gets to experience film shoots and meet a wide variety of clientele.

“Each shoot is so unique,” says Schuelke. “I have not stopped learning, and I am now to the point where my opinion matters.” She picked a good time to work with Ventana, since they currently have fewer interns than usual . “I am working overtime every week, getting more experience than any other intern they’ve ever had,” says Schuelke.

Her semester away from Pella is fast-paced, exciting and a little bit exhausting. “The most difficult part of studying in D.C. has been the go-go-go mentality and making time to rest,” says Schuelke. With her internship, her Ethics of Journalism class once a week in the Associated Press building and time spent capturing the city on her own, she’s often running around 15 hours a day.

“In one day, I had a breakfast meeting with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a lunch meeting with a Capitol lobbyist, a film shoot and then a trip to Maryland in the evening for an informational interview with a freelance photographer,” says Schuelke. “It’s an exciting time to be so busy, active and not tied down, but it definitely gets tiring (especially in heels)!”

As of now, her future plans are open for consideration, although she would ideally like to study international development in Africa for a year, using her fluency in French and her photography skills to raise awareness about social and economic issues in developing countries. She is also considering becoming a photojournalist. Either way, her opportunities in D.C. are providing an impressive stepping stone to launch from after graduation.

“I’ve learned while being here to talk to people. People always have something to say, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and challenge your comfort boundaries,” says Schuelke. “Odds are they will be willing to talk…a lot!” Schuelke is gaining invaluable knowledge of the film production industry, confidence in her abilities and the opportunity of a lifetime—all while wearing heels!

See Schuelke’s stunning photo blog.

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