Student Spotlight: Helena Kaminski
When Helena Kaminski was in high school, she found an SLR film camera in the attic and started taking pictures with it.
"I loved the way I could control blur, motion and focus with its manual functions, and I just started using it as often as I could," she said.
Kaminski began taking classes at College of DuPage after graduating from high school but put school on hold to accept a job offer. However, she returned to COD in spring 2009.
"I didn't plan on pursuing a degree in photography full time, but I took one class that semester and fell back into the program afterward," she said.
In addition to enjoying her studies, Kaminski has submitted her work for consideration in a variety of shows. In 2011, her work was accepted three times: in the SOHO Photo Gallery's Small Works Juried National Competition in New York City; at the Plates to Pixels Gallery in Atlanta; and at the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland.
Kaminski graduated in 2011 with an associate's degree in Photography. She moved to upstate New York for an administrative internship at a non-profit photo gallery, where she assisted artists in residence and exhibiting artists, helped organize the gallery's Permanent Print Collection, and even taught the basics of black and white film photography.
"I participated in almost every aspect of the organization, and networked with many local artists," she said. "Soon after moving, I learned of another internship at a small 19th century photography school. These internships propelled me into my own business as a freelance photographer. I now work full time as an independent contractor retouching, scanning, printing, assisting artists on location and in the studio, and teaching alternative photographic processes at the photography school I interned at."
Although Kaminski always loved art, College of DuPage helped her decide what to do as a career.
"I began taking pictures in high school, but the push to pursue big paycheck careers my senior year made me hesitate about going into any artistic field," she said. "After going through some of the program at COD, I realized that I loved what I was doing, and if I were to pursue any degree or certificate, my priority should be doing what I love.
"The photography program at COD was fantastic: The teachers actively participate in the field and provide great insight into a multitude of different photographic applications, in addition to being extremely helpful and encouraging. The courses are designed not only to teach you important techniques but also to grow as a creative individual, whether you are pursuing a career as an artist or as a commercial photographer. Everyone involved made it an incredibly gratifying experience."