Thesis Development / by Stefaan Conrad



I’m back…which is sad to say because I didn’t intend to be away from blogging in the first place. However, the past is behind and school has started, thus, now I must get myself in gear and pull together all the strings of my senior thesis.

As many of you know, I’m an athlete. Not because I love competition (I do), but because I love to push myself. However, running farther, biking faster, and pushing harder is only one part of what keeps me coming back to an active lifestyle. The other side of the coin is the where aspect of being active. I’m blessed to have an able body with which I can get out and be an athlete. I’m even more blessed to live in a county/region/state with so much beauty and so many stunning outdoor opportunities to experience. Thus, the question which I hope to tackle with my thesis:

How do I share what I feel it means to experience athleticism in nature with people who don’t have the same opportunities?

I want to approach this question by focusing (yay puns) my images on landscapes with an influence of athlete. I have experience shooting content focused on the athlete; close-ups, tight action shots, motion oriented, etc. I want to step back, think big, and make nature the hero — for without the incredible platform that Mother Nature provides, none of what we do would be possible (we meaning both athletes and photographers).

The previous paragraphs is a simple summary of the kind of content I plan to create. However, endgame goals are important to keep in mind while shooting. My dream is to design a print publication in a magazine style that will showcase not only a collection of landscapes, but a personal connection between each of the athletes pictured and the nature that they immerse themselves in. To do this I will create support content for the key landscape images as well as collect written stories and vignettes from the athletes themselves to add their personal perspective to their story.

How is this project going to push me as a photographer, designer, creator, and artist? This is what I’ve been mulling over quite a bit for the past weeks and months. In a way, I have at least a little bit of experience in every aspect of this project. However, I have never engaged in an endeavor which combines each of these bits of skill and experience.

I’ve made images as individual pieces. I’ve made small collections of images that go together and support each other. I will be challenged to maintain a cohesive look over the next months of shooting such that my images can be arranged in a successful way within a publication.

I’ve designed individual spreads. I’ve collaborated on book projects with a team. I will be stretched to apply my basic layout experience to engineer the best skeleton with which to showcase my images. Layout choices I make will undoubtedly set the tone for how viewers experience my photography.

I’ve tried my hand at type and vector design. I’ve designed a few stand alone graphic logos/icons. I will have to learn how to utilize type and vectors to work well within a layout as well as support the photography throughout the publication.

My work is cut out for me. I hope it will be enough of a project to amount to something worth calling my senior thesis. I hope I’ll put in the time necessary to make it what I dream it can be.

For those of you that made it this far, (mom, Aunt Carol, Mama Sue) thank you for reading! I appreciate the support and it really means a lot that there are people who read my posts.

Of course, I can’t end a blog post without something tasty to look at. Here are a few shots from my summer and the recent week of being back in NorCal.