Photography - Student Portfolios

In the course CPH 495 - Photography Capstone and Thesis Seminar — a culminating course — students demonstrate their conceptual understanding and creative abilities in photography and visual communication. Each student develops a coherent body of work and a thesis paper reflecting on that work from a personal, historical, and critical perspective. 

Olivia Thibeault W18

National Geographic has just published one of Olivia's photos from her senior thesis on rescued exotic pets. These animals photographed in a way to restore dignity and individuality were abandoned by owners who found that they did not adapt well to a life indoors. Olivia hopes to discourage the practice of making pets out of animals that truly belong in the wild.

Margaret Shaw

Magnolia Avenue

Thesis, Winter 2018


Three years ago I was introduced to the work of Gregory Crewdson. I quickly grew an obsession with his work, and he naturally became my greatest inspiration for Magnolia Avenue.  I knew I had been desiring to create images like his in the sense that they told an eerie narrative. I admired how he combined the process of filmmaking and photography to create a single still. The images are windows into a rich, mysterious story. This was the basis for my entire thesis project. As a double major in film/video and photography, it was imperative that I could combine my education and skill set from both in order to create the pinnacle of my academic work.


Austin Sullivan

Paranoid and Anxious

Winter 2018

My goal within this series is to pull the viewer in to a state where one of two things can happen: The viewer has a similar anxiety to the one focused in the image, allowing them to connect with it, or he viewer can use the photograph as a window in to how a certain anxiety may feel and have the opportunity to recognize and/or understand it. By allowing both of these to happen, I am able to reach those who identify as anxious and paranoid as well as those who do not, which lowers my risk of limiting and excluding a group of my audience from connecting with the images.

Rachel Britton


Thesis, Winter 2018

Dysmorphia reflects the descent from reality into obsessive states of mine. Influenced by body dysmorphic disorder - the preoccupation with real or imagined flaws of the physical body that produces behaviors such as hair pulling, skin picking and looking in mirrors often - I am fascinated with the overwhelming presence of the disorder in people's lives. I distort reality through digital manipulation and lighting effects to reflect the mind in turmoil driven by these hidden and obsessive traits.

Kasey Reno


Thesis, Fall 2017

I watched a documentary series on Netflix called The Kindness Diaries. A man by the name, Leon traveled around the world relying only on the kindness of others.  He came across many people with all different kinds of stories and learned about the hardships that they were facing. I immediately felt moved to pay attention to my surroundings… A man on the street was no longer just a homeless man. I asked myself, “Who was this man before he got to be where he is today? What is his name? Does he have a family? What happened? With my Thesis on the mind this summer I thought, how can I give back, and make a difference, even if it is just to one person? 

Jordan Clark

Winter 2017


The amount in which Americans consume is greater than any other people in the world; for example, 23 times more than people in India. What's worse is that this consumption is growing all the time. This means that we will eventually need more room for all our stuff, resulting in bigger homes and consuming more resources. The more demand, the larger the factories, mines, and power plants get. This all means more pollution in the water, air, and soil. This cycle is not sustainable and if it is not stopped soon, no one will win. Approaching Landscapes focuses on only one part of this large issue, development, however it still tells a story that needs to be told. 


Jason Slagh

Splendor Beyond the Twilight

Winter 2016

The goal of this project is to renew in the viewer a refreshing perspective of the winter season. Through the use of color, detail, subject, and the paring of different images, this series of triptychs will reveal the beauty of winter that is usually overlooked. The other aspect of this project is looking at how the beauty of winter is not only that which we choose to see; it is all around us.

Nicole Chiaravalli

Fabricated Entity

Thesis Winter 15

Oftentimes, human nature directs us to seek patterns, organization and logic in real world situations. Fabricated Entity responds to these tendencies by showcasing bizarre narratives which have been seamlessly stitched together into ordinary settings. The surrealistic quality blends the line between what is reality and what is fantasy. Clothes hangers are used to remove identities to allow us to place ourselves in each situation and become part of the narrative.

Ashley Kathey


Thesis, Winter 2015


As a whole, this body of work addresses the ideas of beauty, death, and what follows in a minimalist way. The photographs depict death and beauty as a whole body of work, as they also do as . individual pieces. Through my efforts in creating these images I considered many different elements in developing a concise body of images that were both compelling to the audience as well as scientifically intriguing.

Erin Williams

And This is the Journey to the Center of Freedom

Thesis, Fall 2015

This is a personal allegory, navigating the collections of stories, events, and feelings that are relevant in my life. There are distinct, quadratic layers to categorize these events appropriately. These are recognitions and representations of an individualistic experience; one that could not have been made without the institutions it has been balanced on. There are four layers: Fate, Fear, Mercy and Freedom. The latter being the ultimate goal where we will finally be at peace.

Olivia Nevius

Over Hill and Under Hill

Fall 2013
8 photos

When I was younger, Bilbo Baggins was one of my best friends. I loved the idea of a comfortable little homebody setting out on a grand adventure and finding that he had the potential to make a great difference. Fantasy is powerful because it can apply to so many people. The element of metaphor that's woven in between the strands of realism makes it incredibly adaptable. To a child, a dragon may simply be a ferocious beast that has to be defeated, but as adults we defeat our dragons all the time, though it's often not perceived this way. These are my dragons.


Page last modified June 22, 2022