Bellarmine University is known for the opportunities it brings to students with majors such as nursing, business and education. However, some Bellarmine students attend classes with more daring majors in mind.

Bellarmine senior Anna Blake has been practicing photography for almost eight years and is majoring in art with emphasis in photography.

“I was never really talented at anything, and when I started taking [photography] classes people kept on complimenting me,” Blake said. “I knew that being an art major was risky career-wise, but it’s my favorite thing in the world.”

While Blake is currently focused on photography, she plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in art history.

“That [art history] is my second love, after photography,” Blake said. “I want to try to get into a gallery, but I also really would like to work in arts administration, so I’m kind of hoping I can juggle being an artist and an administrator.”

Blake enjoys her major, but said it has not come without the usual criticism art majors are met with when choosing a more unconventional major.

“People get discouraged about being an art major because people say they won’t make any money in art. But if you love it, do it,” Blake said. “It’s incredibly hard work to create something that people will want to purchase, but if you really want to make a career out of art, the hard work will be worth it.”

Succeeding at such a unique major requires hard work from students, and Blake said she thinks Bellarmine’s small class sizes are helpful.

“You get super close with everyone and it’s really great because you have a three-hour studio, and the professor actually has time to help you out and give you really individualized attention,” Blake said.

Among Blake’s professors is Bellarmine photography professor Laura Hartford.

“Anna is amazing. She’s intelligent, talented and hard working. Her photography is well crafted, carefully designed and conceptually driven. She’s a pleasure to have in class not only because of her skills as a young artist but also because of her enthusiasm for all things photo related,” Hartford said.

After nearly four years of studying photography in college, Blake’s favorite piece is still a photo from a shoot with a friend during her freshman year at Bellarmine

“He’s a drag queen and an artist as well, so I went to his studio and we spent the night doing makeup and being silly. It was my first time using a large format camera so the images were blurry and faded, but we had a blast doing them,” said Blake.

Anna’s ability to push the boundaries of gender and gender equality with her photography is admired by her peers.

“I really like the new direction Anna is going in, incorporating her feminist views into her artwork. It feels very authentic,” senior painting major Everett Ohland said.

Blake developed her photography skills while studying in London, England, this summer and was as captivated by the city as her studies.

“London was the best month of my life. For the class, we went to the place where the calotype process was invented and saw the subject of the first calotype. The calotype process was discovered in England in the mid-19th century, and it’s arguably the first photographic process. For a photography nerd like me, it was incredible,” Blake said.

Ohland was also able to go abroad this summer and took classes with Blake. He commented on the enthusiasm she has when learning about photography.

“She was so excited to soak in every bit of information possible about photography when we were in London this summer,” Ohland said. “I was excited for our field trip to Lacock Abbey because parts of Harry Potter were filmed there. Anna was excited because one of the earliest types of photography was invented there.”

Hartford echoed Ohland’s remarks on Blake’s time in London.

“Of all the students who have traveled on the London CCSA trip with me, she was probably the most openly thrilled by our visits to archives, galleries and historic sites,” Hartford said.

Blake thrived while abroad, but her success at Bellarmine began while still in the states. Blake endowed a permanent series to the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Bellarmine.

“She served as a BecVar artist-in-residence and made work inspired by the respiratory therapy program at Lansing. Really interesting work printed on leaves. One of the things that I love most about her is her interest in experimenting with all types of materials and image-making processes,” Hartford said. “Last year she and Shae Goodlett received the Gabrielle Norton Art Endowed Scholarship.”

Blake will graduate in May 2016 and said she is excited for her next adventure as she pursues her love of photography.

“Whenever I get discouraged, I think ‘This is hard, but there’s nothing else I really want to do,’” Blake said.


Butterfly    Drag Queen

Butterflies: A piece completed during Blake’s freshman year is a part

of a series about masculinity. “Untitled.”


Drag Queen: This is Blake’s favorite photo shoot so far with her

friend, a drag queen.

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