This article was originally published in the second issue of VIA Noke Magazine, printed in Roanoke, Virginia in July 2012.
Ciara Roberts is a local college student who is going a far less traditional route than many of her peers when it comes to her studies in digital photography. Currently residing in Ferrum, she is heading into her second year at the New York Institute for Photography from the comfort of her own home. “NYIP sends me books and assignments; once I complete the assignment I mail it in and they send back grades,” she explains. But working remotely does not mean that her education is any less strenuous. “It’s more hands-on that I thought it would be, seeing as you don’t attend actual classes. But you do the work when it’s convenient to you. I enjoy it quite a bit.”
Her talent clearly shines though, overshadowing any doubts of such an independent education, and her work reflects her strong understanding of light and composition. Her wish to eventually find a job in the fashion photography industry is also very evident in her choice of subject matter, which consists largely of editorial-style portraits. But her leading inspiration differs from day to day. “It could vary from a thought, an insect, or a skull,” she explains, referring to photographs she took using a skull as her subject. “It’s whatever catches my eye that moment.” Some of her favorite artists are Emily Soto, Andy Warhol, Rankin, Van Gogh, and Salvador Dali.
Ciara’s other passion is collecting vintage items, ranging from clothing and accessories to antique cameras. “Usually the stranger the better,” she says of her approach in choosing these pieces. “At times these items make their way into my photography.”