Art, Design & Photography
“I never thought I would enjoy education, but college changed that. It kept me focused and let me freely practice what I loved. The facilities at the college are next level, and allow students to fully conduct their own professional shoots.”
Since graduating from NESCol with an HND in Photography, Jenny Anderson (23) has travelled the world with her camera by her side, documenting her travels, holding exhibitions, and being featured in international publications
Why did you enrol on to the course?
I struggled to fit in and enjoy my studies at school. Since I started at secondary I had always been into photography, and after receiving tuition from Kyle Hamilton and Louise Kerr (of Hamilton Kerr in Kirriemuir) I was confident I wanted to pursue a photographic career. School wasn’t working for me personally and none of my classes would particularly help me in my passion, so I decided to leave after my Standard Grades at the age of 16. I enrolled in the NC course initially due to my lack of higher and continued on to do my HND.
What do you like about the course?
From the get go, the course was amazing! After struggling in school, the structure of the course and college totally brought me out of my shell. My confidence and wellbeing flourished alongside my love for photography. The lecturers (big up to Karen, Steve, Russell and Colin!) were all great and really made the course a fun, educational and exciting experience for all. They all took the time to personally help each student reach the next stage and really encouraged me to reach further than I had before. With their help I developed my own style and perfected my skills.
I never thought I would enjoy education, but college changed that. It kept me focused and let me freely practice what I loved. The facilities at the college are next level, and allow students to fully conduct their own professional shoots. Having briefly work in studios with Kyle and Louise, I was excited to get familiar with the equipment again and grow my confidence and professionalism in the studio environment. Furthermore, there was a huge amount of equipment that could be rented from the college which made it much more accessible for those with smaller budgets for their own equipment.
The freedom of the course was probably the highlight for me. Being able to have your own creative twist on our briefs was so exciting, and allowed me to let go of that ‘strict structure’ I had struggled with at school. Being spoken to like an adult and treated like one too was warming and built my self-esteem. I loved working on mood-boards, sketching up ideas and working on projects with the help of my classmates to figure out what worked and what did not. At the end of our course, having the opportunity to showcase our work at our very own exhibition was awesome. I was lucky enough to win Best Work on the Wall at our end of Year Show which gave me a huge boost and that kick up the butt I needed – it’s a great feeling finally learning to appreciate your own work and efforts!
What did you do once you completed the course?
I knew I wasn’t ready to head straight to university after graduating (2016), so I decided to take a slightly different route. My partner and I booked a one way ticket to Australia and since then we have been travelling near and far as much as we can. This has hugely benefited photography journey. Travelling has taught me so much about life, culture and myself and I honestly couldn’t recommend it more to students who are close to graduation and a little unsure about what to do next.
My travels have introduced me to some truly amazing people and my passion for travel photography has blossomed. During our first trip we worked for 4 months in the vast South Australian Outback in a wee town called Marree. Only 60 people lived there, there was no phone reception, limited WiFi and the nearest town was over 3hrs away – totally different to what I was used to in Aberdeen! It was here that I started to document the harsh but beautiful life of the locals. This project ended up becoming my first published spread in Australian publication, Outback Mag over six pages. Since then I have had a few smaller pieces published and come shortlisted in a few competitions.
Since I graduated I have travelled to over 15 countries with my partner, all with my camera tightly held in my hand. I think there is something really special about connecting with people through the camera. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the same language, you can all connect on a deeper level through photographs.
When we travel I try to slow down and embrace the landscape we are in, although admittedly it’s hard not to get trigger crazy when you’re surrounded by beauty. I am not sure if I will ever be ready to settle down. I am just lucky that my two biggest joys, Photography and Travel, go hand in hand.
In November 2019 I hosted my first ever solo exhibition in Stonehaven. It was such a scary and exhilarating experience. It felt as though I was baring my soul to the world. Thankfully it was a success and it was a heart-warming experience to be able to share my stories with the community, as well as selling a few pieces. Despite every second person asking me who the photographer was (haha) I guess a young girl doesn’t seem like someone who can travel the world with a camera – break those stereotypes girls!
What photographic project or work are you doing now?
Unfortunately I should be in Australia right now, I doubt I need to explain why I am not – the dreaded virus! My partner and I had been planning and saving for our big trip back down-under for around 2 years so it was gutting having to cancel our plans. Thankfully we managed to dodge the virus travel restrictions and got to explore Jordan, Sri Lanka, KL, Myanmar, Singapore and the Philippines before it finally caught up with us in March.
Predominantly I am using this time to fine tune my website and socials and on the side I am working on my first coffee table book; although it’s a slow process! As for my usual routine, for the last 3 years I have been working freelance part-time alongside a seasonal hospitality job. Eventually I hope my photography will solely fund my travels!