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brief_encounter_sidebarThrough their years at MIAD, Photography students Julia Kozerski ’12 (Art History minor) and Marta Shumylo ’12 have assisted and inspired one another. Now as seniors, the friends aim their lenses to the future and can see awards, graduation and successful careers.

Kozerski and Shumylo recently learned that their work will appear in the ONWARD ’12 exhibition, an event in Philadelphia that showcases emerging photographers through exposure and new outlets for work. The two seniors submitted photographs through a competition called ONWARD Compé. Renowned photographer Todd Hido served as the event’s guest juror.  Hido selected 57 photographs for the exhibition out of the 2,434 photographs submitted from 25 countries.

“I’m so excited that we both won. Julia’s just as serious about photography as I am,” Shumylo said. “It’s nice to bounce ideas off each other. Seeing her work encourages me to work harder. We encourage each other to keep going.”


“For all of us in the Photography Department, it’s kind of a friendly competition,” Kozerski said. “For a long time, Marta and I have fed off each other through critiques and works.”

Project Basho, a photography resource center in Philadelphia, has run the annual competition for five years. The contest leads up to the ONWARD ’12 exhibition and ONWARD Summit, which are both on Saturday, February 11. Juror’s awards are given to the top two photographs in the exhibit, granting those photographers the opportunity to participate in a two-person show at the Project Basho Gallery. Kozerski and Shumylo plan to attend the summit.

“I want to make connections with the people who are there,” Kozerski said. “We’re immersing ourselves in what we’ll be doing after we graduate. This is what photographers do. We put ourselves out there. We go to conferences and network.”


Kozerski submitted nude self-portraits from her series about self-image, “Half.” The series documents the physical and emotional changes Kozerski experienced as she lost 160 pounds in one year.

“I started going through this personal transformation and needed an outlet to talk about it,” Kozerski said. “I started feeling more comfortable with myself as an artist and understanding what the medium could do for me. It was sort of like therapy. I liked the way the medium allowed me to connect with the viewer.


“At MIAD, I’ve been building upon my work through the years, working through critiques and making my work stronger,” Kozerski said. “I’m now able to talk about my work. I understand the images I’m making and how they affect other people.”

Shumylo submitted photographs that “address the impermanence of our existence.” Through her work, she wants people to appreciate the uniqueness of every moment.

“Submitting my application was really beneficial. I had to think about sizes, titles and how my work should be displayed,” Shumylo said. “It helped me think about gallery settings and how I want my work to be seen by viewers.”

In March, Kozerski and Shumylo will travel to the 2012 Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Conference in San Francisco. Attendees at the three-day national conference will hear presentations about current issues in photography, explore creativity through different exhibits and participate in student portfolio critiques. The seniors learned about the conference through MIAD Photography professors, many of whom are members of SPE.

The experience of attending these conferences will complement classroom learning and inspiration from their friends, to give Kozerski, Shumylo and their classmates the right exposure as they look through their viewfinders to the future.


Click here to learn more about MIAD’s Photography program.

Click here to see Kozerski’s photos featured in Fraction Magazine.

Top image: Marta Shumylo, “Brief Encounters,” photograph
Second image: Julia Kozerski, “Vestige,” photograph
Third image: Julia Kozerski, “Self,” photograph
Bottom image: Marta Shumylo, “The world is light – it’s just your room that’s dark,” photograph