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Blake Ashby

 
Blake Ashby '20
Blake Ashby

Class Year: 2020
Hometown: Holetown, Barbados
Major: Rhetoric and Media Studies
Minor: Art and Art History
Extracurriculars: Staff Photographer and PR/Social Media Manager at Pioneer Log Newspaper, Sunburn Music and Arts Festival Organizer, Photography Club, Pacific Northwest Race, Rhetoric, and Media Symposium Cochair
Overseas study: New Zealand spring 2018; New York City fall 2019

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Refreshing, inspirational, green

What has been your favorite class so far? How has it expanded your knowledge?

Taking Photography II with Assistant Professor Dru Donovan has definitely been a standout class during my time at Lewis & Clark College. If you are seriously interested in photography and looking for ways to push yourself further, I highly recommend this class. Dru is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and has experience working with the New York Times, Vice Magazine, and Aperture Magazine, just to name a few. She also has a wealth of experience as a photo teacher, having taught at Parsons School for Design, Yale University, and Harvard University. Having the opportunity to be in such a small learning environment and gaining hands-on experience is incredible.

In terms of photography experience, Dru has pushed me to places in photography I never knew I could go and I far exceeded my expectations for what I could achieve in just one semester. She has this way of guiding you in the right direction while still allowing you to retain your artistic autonomy through the structure of her class and the critiques. It was amazing to have a successful, inspirational photographer to look up to.

“[Professor Donovan] has this way of guiding you in the right direction while still allowing you to retain your artistic autonomy through the structure of her class and the critiques.”
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The small size of the student body was definitely one of the main draws for me. I couldn’t imagine myself trying to focus in a large lecture hall of 300 people and having very little time to ask questions. Personally, I am the kind of learner that needs to have the professor as available as possible, both in and outside of class time. At Lewis & Clark, the majority of my professors are available for one-on-one appointments during office hours. My relationship with my professors is definitely an integral part of my Lewis & Clark experience thus far and enables me to have a firm grasp on the material taught during lectures.

How do you feel supported as an international student at Lewis & Clark?

Lewis & Clark provides me with a network of staff members who are invested in my well-being as an international student and are there to help me with any issues. Whether it be visa, class, or flight issues, or even just being homesick, I’ve never felt like I couldn’t reach out to someone in the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office. In terms of the student body, I’m surrounded by a large number of international students, which makes me feel more at home. It’s also helpful that a large portion of the international students are also alumni from the United World College schools, and this makes the environment more familiar. I would say that Lewis & Clark is a perfect fit for any recent high school graduate from UWC, as it was a smooth transition.

Describe why you used a camera as a prop for your photo shoot.

I decided to bring my camera to the photoshoot because I feel like photography is an integral part of my identity. Throughout my time at Lewis & Clark, this part of my identity has only grown more and more, through taking photo classes as well as being in a social setting conducive to art. People here are always open to being photographed, especially if it’s for an art project, and what better place to take photos than this beautiful campus.

Do you have a job on campus? If so, how do you fit work into your schedule?

Since the start of fall semester of my freshman year, I’ve worked in the Overseas and Off-Campus Programs office as their social media intern, as well as just a general office intern. I love my job and I actually look forward to going to work whenever I’m scheduled. It’s an engaging and stimulating job, and all of the staff feel like family to me. It’s not too hard for me to fit my job into my schedule, and in my experience jobs on campus are pretty flexible and will work around your classes/extracurriculars.

How did you choose your New York off-campus program? What did your internship entail?

I wanted a study abroad experience that I’d never be able to have without going on an L&C program specifically. I chose the New York program because it’s quite a rare opportunity to be able to afford to work part time in the city, and have the direct support of an L&C faculty member. We all lived in the beautiful Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and were provided a stipend. Every week we went to our internships, visited countless galleries and museums, and saw theatre shows several times a week. The internship aspect of the program was one of its biggest draws for me.

In my role as studio manager for New York-based artist and publisher Matthew Leifheit, I gained invaluable experience in publishing, marketing for artists and publications, and video editing. For Leifheit’s current exhibition Nothing More American at the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut, I worked on editing interview footage of three immigrant families who sought sanctuary from deportation by ICE in a historic American church. My position also included working with MATTE Editions, Leifheit’s artbook publishing imprint. I contributed greatly to the conceptualization, editing, design, production, and marketing of its latest title, CLOSER AS LOVE: Polaroids by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, as well as issues 54, 55, and 56 of MATTE Magazine. I also continued to remotely manage the updating of the online marketplace and corresponded with both large and small purchasers in domestic and international markets.

How did you choose your first overseas program? What has your overseas study add to your L&C experience so far?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in science. However, as I grew older I realized that I wasn’t as scientifically inclined as I would have wanted. As a result, my academic interest in science waned, although I was still fascinated and intrigued by the less academic side of it. With New Zealand being an incredibly biodiverse place, I saw this program as the perfect way to reignite my interest from a non-specialist perspective. I also completed my general education laboratory requirement while doing something I knew I’d enjoy. What attracted me to the program as well is that while learning about the natural world, we also delved into New Zealand’s rich cultural past. 

My overseas experience was incredibly enriching, and I feel lucky to have been able to participate in the program as part of my curriculum at Lewis & Clark. The New Zealand program allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture along with an L&C professor and students, and also expanded my idea of what I want to do with my degree once I graduate. 

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