MFA Student Earns Honorable Mention in PDN Student Photo Contest
Fine Art Photography student Amanda Boe was honored this month in Photo District News's (PDN) 2010 Student Photo Contest, out of thousands of photos from an international range of more than 1,600 students.
"I've followed PDN's contests for a few years and felt like it was time to give it a shot," said Amanda. "I entered some images from my thesis project, 'What I Hold Dear,' which is a fine art body of work about the places that have shaped who I am." She described the collection as an exploration of her relationship between her native home in South Dakota and present life in California, drawing on memories, emotions, and a sense of the familiar.
Amanda graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2001 with a BA in architecture and a studio arts minor with an emphasis in photography. After graduating, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked for five years in the architecture and design industry, but never felt a real connection to the work. "I realized that I needed something more fulfilling and decided to pursue photography," said Amanda.
"My dad's photography hobby initially fueled my interest in exploring the world with a camera," she said. "His Pentax 35mm camera led me through art club in high school and several photography classes in college."
Amanda is now in her final year working toward an MFA at Academy of Art University's School of Photography. "I can't pick just one!" Amanda said when asked which Academy instructor she found to be most influential. She did note, however, that she was particularly inspired by James Chiang and Jim Sienkiewicz. "As an artist and commercial photographer, James Chiang is inspiring on so many levels," said Amanda. "His insight and advice about photography will always stick with me. And Jim Sienkiewicz always gives excellent feedback and encourages me to push myself."
She said that studying at the Academy has allowed her to find her niche in photography, as well as develop her style and grow professionally. Amanda encourages other students to explore their options and not lose themselves in the process. "Follow your heart and immerse yourself in the kind of art that you love," she said. "Create work that is meaningful and personally satisfying to you."
Over her last year at the Academy, Amanda has kept busy assisting one of her mentors and favorite photographers, Todd Hido, as well as participating as a guest speaker last month at her former high school. She was invited by her former art teacher to speak to the AP Studio Art class and photography students. "The experience was enlightening and made me feel certain about teaching photography someday," she said.
Amanda also recently showed her work and co-curated a group photography show entitled, "I Got 5 On It," at 31 Rausch Street Gallery in San Francisco. Bringing together 20 local photographers, the show sought to celebrate the overlapping moments of individual creative trajectories, examining five common subjects—a chair, a flower, a window, a tree and the road—as expressed by a variety of photographers.
Currently working on her final thesis project, Amanda plans to enter more photography contests and continue to participate in local gallery shows.