Tommy Keith

Photography (MFA) '21

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

The most surprising thing I’ve learned is how fast it all goes by. It feels like I snapped my fingers and the past two years disappeared, and yet myself and my work have progressed to areas I never anticipated, for the better. The past two years have been challenging, and it’ll take a little while for me to fully process everything that’s happened, but there’s no doubt my professors and cohort have helped me become a better artist for it.    

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

Working as a Teaching Assistant here at Columbia College Chicago and working closely with both my professors and students has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I’ve learned just as much from the phenomenal undergrads as I have my professors, and it’s been a real honour to play a small role in their artistic development.  

What are your plans for after graduation? 

After graduation I’m moving back to Toronto where I’ll be co-teaching a course online. I hope to take on some editorial/magazine assignments and continue to show my work.  

Do you have any advice for current students? 

Follow your gut! It’s usually right, and even if it’s wrong it’ll probably be a good story.  

If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say? 

If I was going to sum it up, I’d most likely sit at my desk and struggle with the perfect wording, feel frustrated with how difficult it is to put such a whirlwind of a time into one sentence, and then go outside because the sun is shining and there’s a perfect breeze.