Hannah Schneider, ‘22, is the 2022 Penland Partner Scholar for Meredith College. This is a program that will allow Schneider to study at Penland School of Craft over the upcoming summer. There she will be exploring “nontraditional photographic techniques” such as “cyanotypes and non-toxic Caffenol” that she was introduced to in a two-week course called Topics in Photography. When she returns to Meredith in the fall, she will present this work.
“I never had a passion for photography until I started studying photography at Meredith,” says Schneider. “I never dabbled with photography outside of taking random pictures on my phone of my pets…I decided to take Digital Photography I as a sophomore in the Fall of 2019 for an elective for my Graphic Design major. During that course, I learned the foundation of photography, and I met Professor Shannon Johnstone, who is now a close mentor of mine. She showed me with her series Landfill Dogs how photography could lead to quantifiable change for causes that you are passionate about.”
Schneider’s latest project was motivated by this need for change alongside her battle with anxiety. “I am very driven by my anxiety…it gives me the motivation to create pieces that are centered around topics that I am greatly passionate about, like climate change, overpopulation, isolation, existentialism, or even anxiety itself.”
Schneider also uses her photography to capture calming influences in her life, like her pets. “Dogs provide comfort and calmness against the storm that anxiety brings intermittently,” She said. Another one of Schneider’s projects fought against pitbull discrimination, utilizing her talents to spread awareness about the animals that help her deal with her anxiety.
A third of Schneider’s pieces, Utopia, “dictates a future where humans are gone, critical ecosystems are restored, and the Earth has reclaimed itself, no longer disintegrating because of climate change and overpopulation. I fully believe that photography has the potential to open up the eyes of others and lead to change.”
To aspiring artists, Schneider says “I would definitely advise other artists to not be afraid to try a new technique or medium. You never know if it may lead you to a new passion or outlet. It could be a bust, which would be no harm done, or you may find that it takes over your work and gives you a new life path you had never considered prior…I would never have predicted that I would be graduating just four years later as a graphic designer and photographer. Life is unpredictable.”
By Anna Prince, Staff Writer