Graduating senior Amarise Carreras isn’t opposed to going the extra mile for her studies—or going 300 miles. In her junior year, she poured her heart into a documentary project that proved to be equal parts exhausting and exhilarating.
“I wanted to really prove myself,” says Carreras, “so I took a train to New York for a day to photograph the neighborhood I grew up in. When I came back I decided to make a photobook out of it in a night.”
For hours, Carreras wrestled with the task. Properly sequencing the book was a challenge, but she eventually decided to glue together pieces of matte paper to get the pages to flip correctly. The extraordinary effort she gave the project in such a compressed period of time was, she says, “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for sure. … That’s where making work genuinely started for me.
Carreras felt confident as a photographer before entering Art Foundation, but during the program she was challenged through a number of different mediums. Even as she was drawn to the Photography + Film program, she wanted to integrate the newest hands-on skills she had developed in Art Foundation. “I wanted to get back to [photography] and see what I was able to make after learning what I had about making.”
Carreras’s deft combinations of craft, sculpture and photography has rightfully earned her acclaim. Her senior thesis project—funded in part by the department’s Senior Project grant—won Best in Show at the Photography + Film Senior Thesis Exhibition, “Highlights and Chateaus,” in May.
“It was a really overwhelming feeling of accomplishment after seeing all the hard work everyone put into their work and the show. I felt a huge amount of support from my professors and the way they advocated for me and my work.”
Carreras says her guiding principle in artmaking is based in challenging herself for the sake of what she knows. “Making art is a privilege,” she explains. “Once an artist recognizes that as a responsibility, the way one makes things changes. It doesn’t matter what your resources are as long as you embrace what you have to make something.”