Before and After SVA: Amanda Louis Finds the Balance Between the Professional World and Her Personal Projects
August 16, 2018 by Sheilah Ledwidge
Amanda Louis. Photographed by Jeremy Cohen
A photograph of Amanda Louis by Jeremy Cohen.
Amanda Louis. Photo by Jeremy Cohen.

Earning a BFA in Photography and Video from SVA in 2017, Amanda Louis has been working full-time since graduation at Trunk Archive as a photo researcher—a job she started as an internship at while she was still at school. She is also a freelance photographer and continues to build her portfolio. We recently caught up with her to ask her to reflect on her time at SVA and what she’s learned since.

Three photographs of landscapes by Amanda Louis.
Three landscape photographs taken by Amanda Louis.

What are some challenges in transitioning from full-time student to professional?
I think the biggest challenge is how to see each day differently and not get sucked into a routine. I try to go to as many events as possible, as well as work on my projects on the side. Once I come home from work, I start editing the images I shot over the weekend.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman to get the most of their education at SVA?
My advice would be to listen and pay attention to everything. Even though it may not seem like an interest to you, there is inspiration to be found in anything. Also if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to try it. SVA is a great place to develop concepts and experiment. Your peers and professors are there to help you.

I also think you should start interning as soon as possible. Getting experience out in the field will not only help you find out what you love and are good at, but also to gain experience for when you are about to apply for jobs and positions. There is an added plus that you can meet other colleagues outside of SVA.

Two photographs that are apart of a series titled <em>Lilou</em> by Amanda Louis.
Two photographs that are in a series titled Lilou. Photographs taken by Amanda Louis.

How have you interacted with the contacts you made at SVA?
I’ve actually sent out a few gigs I wasn’t able to cover myself to friends and colleagues. It’s good to stay in contact with people you meet, because you never know where they will end up.

Do you recall any advice you received from faculty that was helpful?
The most helpful advice I received was that I should take my time with my work and not rush anything. It’s hard trying to juggle a job, portfolio work and a personal project. I think many people see the pressure in it and just give up. But it’s okay not to work on everything all at once. I believe it’s very important to keep shooting, if that’s what you love, even if it isn’t necessarily the thing you want to shoot. By doing so you are still practicing and refining your photography skills. So then when you have time to put into your projects, you’ll know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it.

To read more Before and After SVA interviews, click here.