When Colorado Mountain College student Rachel Williams entered 5 photos into the illustration category for the college photographer of the year competition, she didn’t expect to win gold– much less gold, bronze, and an award of excellence.
Williams, 20, is a self proclaimed military brat most recently from Colorado Springs. A photography and graphic design double major, she graduated from CMC’s two year photo program in May and later decided to pursue a bachelor’s.
Her work is a heady blend of postproduction vision and camera savvy, designed to make a statement or send a message.
The winning illustrations “Disagio”– “unease” in Italian– “Clipped Wings” and “Abandoned Soul” complete a surreal triptych dominating the five entry category. They can be viewed online at tinyurl.com/rwcmcphotos,
Williams spoke to the Post Independent about how she stopped making pictures “of” things and started making pictures “about” things.
Post Independent: What brought you to CMC?
Rachel Williams: “I had been considering attending the Art Institute or Rocky Mountain College of Design, and then I got a scholarship offer from CMC. I had never heard of them, but I came up here for a visit day and toured the campus and I was sold.”
PI: How did you become interested in photography and graphic design?
RW: “I enrolled in a graphic design class my sophomore year of high school, and I had a really great teacher. By junior year I discovered it was something I really wanted to do, and I enrolled in a digital photography class. By the time I graduated I’d taken all the art classes that they offered.
PI: What do you think sets your work apart?
RW: “The images that did really well were those that had really strong concepts behind them that I illustrated visually. The one that got the gold is an illustration of the kind of ominous feeling you can get alone and completely immersed in nature.”
PI: What was it like winning so many awards?
RW: “I think it did boost my confidence. I’m still in kind of shock. I’m eternally grateful to all my teachers and the whole photo family.”
PI: What do you like to do besides photography and graphic design?
RW:“That’s kind of it for me.”
PI: Where do you see yourself after college?
RW: “I absolutely love it up here. I don’t think I’m going to stay here, but I learned from living here than I’m not a city person. My plan is actually to move to Nebraska. I have family out there, and the atmosphere in Omaha is exactly what I’m going to need.”
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Another sign that things are returning to normal goes up on the grassy lawn at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs Wednesday evening — with an eye toward a full return next summer.