One Western Michigan University student studying fine arts displays human nature through her skills as a photographer.
Senior Brianne Charon’s fascination with photography began as a child and further developed by the time she reached high school. One of Charon’s high school teachers based a class on photography. Her experiences and the lessons in that class motivated Charon to pursue photography as a potential career.
As for inspiration, she finds inspiration for her work from personal experiences, the works of photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, and quotes from books and movies.
The majority of her work features nature, landscapes and people. Of these three subjects, Charon prefers to photograph people. She enjoys capturing the different elements that make up a person, such as their flaws.
“I like the roughness in faces, ‘flaws’ some people would say,” Charon said. “I never edit anyone’s freckles, scars or wrinkles for that reason.”
Charon used her experience of uncertainty about her future as the basis for her work “After Storms.” This work consisted of portraits she took of her niece, Jessi Charon.
“I wanted to create something that was relaxing and of someone who could represent a strong woman who is not lost and knows what they want to do because they have faith that things will work out,” Charon said.
Charon project, “The Regrets of 20 Somethings” began a year ago when she took a narrative photography class at WMU. Her project depicts the mindset of those who are in their 20s, as well as mentions the regrets associated with their stories.
For volunteers, she put out an open call on social media. She asked the volunteers to bring an item connected to their personal story.
The project overall was emotionally taxing, because of everyone and their items and claimed how difficult it was hearing strangers’ personal stories, Charon said.
Charon, who is featured in the project, used a burnt piece of toast as a reminder of her father. He left a piece of toast burning because he died suddenly when Brianne was 16 years old. She said burnt toast reminds her of the simple things we take for granted.
It was at a show last October that displaying “The Regrets of 20 Somethings” that she realized how her work helped people deal with their own struggles.
“An anonymous person wrote in my book that they have been struggling with self-harm,” Charon said. “My project helped them realize they had took things for granted, and it helped them live a fuller life day-by-day.”
After her graduation in April, her future projects include a continuation of her “The Regrets of” series with a focus on people in their 30s or veterans.
Charon hopes to one day work in New York for a major magazine. While aware of the difficulties in pursuing a career in this field, Charon is open to all opportunities and is ready to face this challenge.