Finalist Highlights: Kelsey Narayan

The joy of Thanksgiving is captured in UofGH student’s photograph of a delightful treat.

University of Guelph-Humber student, Kelsey Narayan, is a finalist in the EMAs Photography category for her work, “Thanksgiving Delight.

1. What inspired you to begin this project? Why are you passionate about it? This project was for a studio photography assignment for lifestyle food photography. This category is mainly used in advertisements, but could also translate to magazines, blogs and recipe books. I was inspired to do a Thanksgiving theme, because that was the time around when I produced the work – it only made sense!

If I’m being honest, I generally don’t like pumpkin pie, but I love the festivity around Thanksgiving and the fall season, and that’s what inspired me to create this photo. I wanted the feeling of togetherness, family, and home to come across in the image, and I believe I really captured that.

I am passionate about this project because I love this time of year; it reminds me that Christmas is around the corner, and of family that I haven’t seen in a while. It took a lot of thought, preparation and prop styling for sure, and through that, I hope it shows my passion. I think if I just had a pie sitting in frame, it wouldn’t have offered any of the characteristics I mentioned. However, if I am able to offer my audience more than just a simple image of pie, it would be to enjoy the time with your loved ones, reflect on the year and indulge in some Thanksgiving delights.

2. How do you feel as a nominee for the Emerge Media Awards? I feel great! It’s surreal to get the recognition for your art, and to even be nominated is something I didn’t imagine. For someone who doubts their work a lot, I was definitely surprised with the nomination, but I’m happy and excited to find out the winners on March 22! The others in my category are quite talented; good luck to all!

3. How do you feel your school prepared you to create this work? It’s tough to answer this without reflecting on the time I have had at the University of Guelph-Humber. Guelph-Humber has been a great place to learn and expand my knowledge of photography. However, I owe this to my professors Gordon Cheung and Laura Arsie, and Guelph-Humber’s resources for a wide array of photography and lighting equipment at my disposal.

In first year, I knew I wanted to be in media, but couldn’t pinpoint my focus. I liked video and design work, but Gordon really peaked my interest in photography, and I bought my first DSLR camera for his Introduction to Photography class.

Fast-forwarding to third and fourth year, Laura Arsie has been one of my professors who has really pushed and shaped me into the creator I am. From the fundamentals of photography, to breaking the rules to enhance your art, Laura has taught me to stand behind my art, even when I doubt it or don’t think it’s amazing. She keeps me grounded to improve my work and to have fun with it. Everything in your frame doesn’t have to be perfect all the time; ruffle it, mess it up, there is always beauty in the imperfect.

So, to finally answer the question, Guelph-Humber has prepared me to create this work not only for allowing me access to the tools, but for introducing me to professors who are great at their craft, and who care about improving the craft of their students.

4. Why do you want to go into the media industry? If I’m being honest, it’s because I didn’t know what else to do. Science and anything to do with math was an absolute no; I would have flashes of the future to me being miserable, because that’s not something I’m truly passionate about. I’ve always been interested in art, music, television and pop culture, so I went with what I knew I would inevitably be happy with doing for the rest of my life. So whether or not I end up in photography, I know that the media industry is a great place for me to be. This field is always evolving and changing; the media industry strives on creative minds, and without us and our brilliant ideas, media would be bland.

5. What’s your ideal dream job? I have two scenarios for my ideal dream job: to have my own photography business, or to be working for a reputable company as a photographer. If I decide to really go forward with a personal business venture, I would be doing all the photography I want, not specifying a niche. I love food, travel, portraits, weddings and special events, interior, landscape, contemporary, etc.; it all fascinates me. Limiting myself to a specific category will not only cut off possible business partners or collaborations, but it won’t allow me to fully explore this craft. I think that exploring and trying out most if not all types, will allow me to be a better and more well-rounded photographer.











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