Erin Lyle

Commercial Photography (BA)

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?
The most surprising thing I've learned at Columbia is how different each student and artist's path can be; that school, or making a body of work, is not as cut and dry as I used to think. It is a lot more fluid, and there can be a lot of twists and turns to get where you are today. Your art and life are constantly changing and evolving; there isn't ever a point where we can say we're done learning.

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?
Having critique is hands down the most beneficial part of my experience here at Columbia. I used to be intimidated by it, and almost dreaded sharing my work, but I have grown to love having critiques and the feedback that I have gotten over the years from my classmates and professors are what has really made my work grow and improve greatly. Critique has also made me much more confident when sharing work, even if it is a work in progress. The responses I have gotten on my photography are truly invaluable.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I hope to work as a photo retoucher, and have been applying for remote positions at the moment. When our world becomes more normal, I hope to resume assisting and being a digital tech for photographers here in Chicago. I will also get my Phase One Certification when that becomes possible. Outside of photography, I will continue writing music and hope to perform at local venues as soon as we can, and I will release my first album when that is finished as well. I will of course continue making work, seeking out other artists to collaborate with and get feedback from, and continue growing as a photographer and artist.

Do you have any advice for current students?
Keep looking forward. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in where we might want to be as an artist, and it can be frustrating, but as cheesy as it sounds, you're exactly where you need to be right now. As long as you are seeking ways to grow and learn, you will get to where you want to be, as slow as the process may seem sometimes. Take the time you need to get what you need, and trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right for you, it isn't right for you. Everyone's path is different!