Katie Conley Pursues Creative Dreams in College

Recent Academic Magnet alum and former writer for The Talon, Katie Conley is currently pursuing her interests in photography and fashion while she attends the University of New Mexico.

While Magnet prepares its students for the four years of hard work in college, there are still many differences between high school and college. Katie did admit that she feels significantly more prepared for school than most of her peers. Specifically for one of her majors where she has to write a senior thesis. She says that she isn’t worried since she’s already completed one and learned how to interact with professionals and how to tackle expansive projects. Katie says the biggest difference though between college and high school is “the ability to take classes specific to what you want to do.” This is incredibly helpful to students interested in more artistic fields since Magnet does not offer many creative opportunities. In addition to her photography classes, Katie says there is many other unique courses she can take. One of her favorites that she is taking this semester is called “Exploration of the Mountains” where she gets to learn about explorers and mountaineers and take hikes in the local area.

Although moving out to New Mexico for college might seem like a big change from life in the lowcountry, Katie  seems to already be accustomed to it. She said, “It’s weird not seeing water everywhere, but the landscape out here is just breathtaking, and I can’t get enough of it.”  She enjoys looking out and seeing the Sandia Mountains, Rio Grande, and high desert every day. With such picturesque landscape close by, the hiking, rafting, mountain climbing, and skiing are amazing. Katie plans to enjoy as much of the natural, diverse beauty of the state as she can in her four years of school there. Anyone visiting the university or state should take time to appreciate the natural attractions that are just outside of the Albuquerque and Santa Fe too.

In college, Katie is able to expand her knowledge and experience in the field of photography. Katie said that she is still trying to get a feel for the creative community in New Mexico, but has been collaborating with other photographers in the area. When she was in Charleston, she was able to learn a lot about the field through other people such as Liam Rowley, and she plans to continue working with other artists in college. Katie says she is always seeking opportunities to use her camera such as “taking pictures of friends and for local newspapers and magazines.” In her recent work, she has been experimenting with color and lighting and how that effects her photos. She was able to use this element in her Intro to Photography class when they worked on narrative portraits. She explained this assignment as “using the human body to tell a story.” Her portraits focused on the misinterpretation of African Americans in the fashion industry. Examples of her work can be seen in the gallery above.

Katie stressed the importance of collaborating with and learning from other photographers and said she would love to work with Magnet students over winter break. Anyone interested should contact Katie on her Instagram.

Check out @katieeconley on Instagram to see all of her photography work!