man-camera-taking-photo-photographer.jpg
4. comp3.jpg
3. comp2.jpg
2. comp1.jpg
BY0A7266.jpg
9. sunset.small.jpg
man-camera-taking-photo-photographer.jpg

A Photo


I love the challenge of conveying a complex message using a single image -- to capture a photograph that represents the values and messaging of a specific organization.

SCROLL DOWN

A Photo


I love the challenge of conveying a complex message using a single image -- to capture a photograph that represents the values and messaging of a specific organization.

The goal for this photography project was to find an effective way to express the traditional, Jesuit foundation of the University of San Francisco while simultaneously emphasizing that the school is a modern, inclusive, forward-thinking institution located in the center of a bustling metropolis.

4. comp3.jpg

Research


I wanted to learn what the school meant to its student body. How did they view the school? Why did they choose to go there? How had the values of the school affected them personally and academically?

Research


I wanted to learn what the school meant to its student body. How did they view the school? Why did they choose to go there? How had the values of the school affected them personally and academically?

research.small

The students and faculty had a variety of answers about what the University of San Francisco meant to them. However, there was a common thread to each conversation -- USF represented possibility.

Many of the students told me that being centrally located in an urban environment made them think about everything they could potentially achieve. Faculty members told me that being around the vibrant energy of the student body made them to think about how they could continue to grow and change.

I wanted to ensure that my final image made reference to the idea that, for a 20-year-old at a great University, the sky truly is the limit.

3. comp2.jpg

Synthesize


The next step in conceptualizing the final image was to combine the student and faculty interviews with the University's messaging.

Synthesize


The next step in conceptualizing the final image was to combine the student and faculty interviews with the University's messaging.

The messaging on USF's website reflected much of what I learned in talking to students and faculty. Here are a few quotes directly taken from the site:

"Find common ground and then move to higher ground" 
"A USF education reaches beyond the classroom"
"It’s about inspiring students to go forth and set the world on fire"
"Urban university with a global perspective"

The words "higher ground" and "beyond the classroom", motivated me to think about how to incorporate the sky into the photo. The idea of "common ground" and "urban university" inspired me think about setting the school in its home directly in the center of San Francisco. "Set the world on fire" sparked the idea that the final image should contain bright purples, oranges and reds.

2. comp1.jpg

Brainstorm


I walked around San Francisco and the USF campus looking for inspiration -- I found it in the architecture, the wooded hills, the cloudy skies and the bright sunsets. 

Brainstorm


I walked around San Francisco and the USF campus looking for inspiration -- I found it in the architecture, the wooded hills, the cloudy skies and the bright sunsets. 

Conveniently, I happen to have a great view of USF from my house. I sat on my balcony, looked at the school and began to sketch. While sketching, I realized that I wanted the school's main buildings to lie at the base of the photo while most of the frame would be taken up by an enormous sky.

For me, the sky represented the endless possibilities that I felt when talking with students and faculty. It also served to fulfill the foundational Jesuit values of the University. 

 
BY0A7266.jpg

Prototype


I used a combination of collage, daily photographs and drawing to guide me to the final photograph.

Prototype


I used a combination of collage, daily photographs and drawing to guide me to the final photograph.

I took photos every afternoon (from my balcony) for about 10 days. It took me a couple of days to settle on the time of day and the best lens for the job. I took daily pictures from about 4PM to 5PM with a Canon 17-85mm turned all the way down to 17mm -- I loved the angle of the school from my balcony and was happy with the perspective that the lens was giving me.

I waited patiently for the perfect, fiery sunset, but nature had other plans. Finally, after two weeks of clear skies, I managed to take a series of shots of the school with great clouds overhead on an evening with a spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, the light show from the sunset was hanging over the ocean while there was hardly any color in the clouds over the University. 

I imported all of my photos into Photoshop and Lightroom and started to experiment. I grabbed the colors from the photos of the sunset and used them to colorize the grey clouds over the school -- the results were exactly what I had hoped for.

9. sunset.small.jpg

Implement


The final photograph represents the values that inspire the students and faculty at USF.

Implement


The final photograph represents the values that inspire the students and faculty at USF.

Look for the final photograph in the University's offices and in USF's marketing materials sometime in the coming year.

 

The Final Shot