Here at Millersville, there are many artistic students with immense talent that goes relatively unnoticed. With so much beauty around, it’s important to unravel this and get to know the hard-working and creative artists responsible for contributing to a more beautiful society.
One student at Millersille who exemplifies creativity and passion for her craft is senior Rachel Adshead, currently in her last year studying digital journalism and criminology. Enjoying many different mediums of art, she delves into a bit of everything, including digital art, watercolors, caricatures, and creative writing. Her true passion, however, lies in photography. “It’s my #1 thing. I’ll jump back and forth between different things, but that’s the only thing I haven’t stopped doing.”
Looking back toward her childhood, it seems as if taking photos has always been a part of her life. “I’ve loved photography ever since I was a kid. I used to use my sister’s crappy little camera just to take pictures and edit them online; that was years ago.”
Now, she has transformed into blooming her photography businesses and learning to make her passion into something that can help financially. “I started doing it professionally probably about 5 years ago with weddings, engagements, and stuff like that.” Both her and her boyfriend formed a business together, Shutterpunks Photography and Art: “We do weddings together, family shoots, things like that. That’s the business side of it.”
While Adshead enjoys weddings for the most part, she gets the most gratification out of her more personal shoots. “I do creative portraits, nature, and landscape stuff too. That’s my favorite thing; I love it. I don’t get a lot of money for it, which is fine. It’s more like my art form. If I had more money, that’s all I would shoot.”
While she enjoys the editing process, Adshead states that she likes to leave her images as natural as possible. “I do edit my pictures, but I don’t touch up people’s skin or anything like that unless someone specifically asks. I just mess with the lighting and I’ll adjust contrast and lighting and colors.” She sets herself apart from other photographers based on how she views editing: “A lot of photographers will overexpose but I don’t like that. I like it a little darker because of the mood and emotion. You get a better image; there’s more feeling.”
Adshead doesn’t believe in over-editing her photos because she doesn’t want to contribute to a deceivingly perfect society that it isn’t quite believable. “I’m so against all those perfect people in photography. I don’t want that.” Referring to Instagram models that seem to be trending all over the app, Adshead disapproves of the excessive retouching and deliberate posing: “It’s frustrating. I just want to see the real person because everyone’s beautiful and interesting.” When Adshead does portrait shoots, she shies away from the overdone editing. “I really try to pull out people’s personalities in my pictures. It comes out better, I think. We need more of that.”
Additionally, she doesn’t agree with over-editing because of the inadequacy issues it creates for young people scrolling through social media and believing they have to attain an unachievable level of perfection that just doesn’t exist. “It just gives people self-confidence issues.”
Adshead is no stranger to dealing with struggles of her own, though photography is one remedy that continually lifts her up. “My stuff is moody, I feel like. I have a lot of issues with anxiety and depression, but then I do a creative shoot and I think it just helps. My pictures come out better, if that makes sense. That’s one way to channel those feelings.”
There are times when she feels overwhelmed with the business side of photography, such as shooting weddings, which are all-day affairs and can get tiresome. “When i’m doing a wedding, I do have a lot of fun; but it’s the stuff afterwards, people hounding you for pictures, that drives me nuts.”
Though her passion for it never dies down: “I do get burned out, but then I do a creative shoot and I recharge.”
Inspiration comes from multiple platforms for Adshead. “I like the film noir look so I try to put some of that into my images.” Mostly she tries to find the beauty in what is seemingly mundane. One of her favorite inspirations, Lisette Model, a street photographer, “makes ordinary people look so interesting. That’s what I want to do.”
Adshead stresses that anyone can create something great if they want to try their hand at photography or art in general. “Just put emotion in it. It’s a really cool outlet that’s creative. Even if you feel like you’re not creative, everyone has some creativity in them”
To find more of Adshead’s work, check out her personal blog, RachelAdsheadPhotography.com or her joint business with her boyfriend, Shutterpunks Photography and Art.