Andréa Kütemeier is a senior digital media arts major who has been taking photos since she was in sixth grade.
“That’s when I started taking my mom’s camera and taking pictures with it. From there, I started entering some contests and I ended up winning a couple of awards,” Kütemeier said. “I had submitted piece for something local, like a county thing, and then they ended up submitted the top ones to a national award and I ended up winning a national award too.”
While she started taking photos when she was young, it wasn’t until a few years passed that she began to commit to it. “In high school, I started taking my photos more seriously and started showing them more.” Kütemeier said. “And [at Valpo] I’ve done a lot of photo classes, obviously, and I’ve gotten to do the darkroom classes. I print all my photos most of the time, so I take 35 millimeter and 4x5 large format film. My senior thesis is 4x5 large format so I took all the photos, developed all the film, and right now I’m in the process of printing all the images for it in the darkroom.”
In regards to her inspirations, Kütemeier said, “Aimee Tomasek. She is the head of the art department and the reason I came to Valpo because I wanted to learn from her… I also love to collaborate with artists here, like other students. There’s Nina Tadic, Tim Bimler, Gloria Ruff and Lucy Hicks. They’re all people I talk to a lot and have them look at my work and compare stuff with.”
When asked her favorite thing to photograph, Kütemeier said “I loved to photo my grandma, who recently passed away. But I’ve photographed her tons. She didn’t always like it, but I did. But I was really appreciative of that after she passed away. It made me realize how important photos are,” Kütemeier said. “I love to take photos of families and memories like that.”
Her favorite photo is also one of her grandma called “Marked.”
“It doesn’t show her face but you can still tell her expression from the photo. It’s a mid-shot and the way her hands are places and just seeing the texture of her skin and her clothing; it’s one of my favorites.”
“I love to do family portraits, especially after I get to know a family. There’s one family in particular that I’ve shot the last couple years. It’s great for me to see the progression of the kids growing up,” Kütemeier said.
Each time she’s taken their pictures, they’ve had a new kid.
“I love doing family photos.” Kütemeier said. “But also, with my art, I like to travel a lot and take photos of the places I’ve been… I really like to do farm photography. Like old, rustic things. I grew up on a farm and I use that as a subject a lot. I like to preserve those memories there.”
Kütemeier’s senior thesis has a lot of different parts of what she enjoys. She focuses on chickens and the world of poultry and people
in the area who raise them for different reasons.
“Some might see some as better than others, and there’s multiple sides to every story,” Kütemeier said. “I try and make it so that I’m showing all the sides and I’m not ‘I think this side is good and this side is bad, so that’s what I’m showing.’ I’m trying not to do that and take it from a very journalistic point of view without favoring either side.”
As for her advice to new photographers, Kütemeier said, “Take lots of pictures, as many as you can take. There’s always more to take and after, even if you think a photo is worth nothing, leave and come back to it. You might find something you never saw before.” Kütemeier continued, “Don’t be afraid to show your work off. After you start showing it, it becomes easier and easier. Learning how to value your work as an artist is really important too.”
If you would like to see more of Kütemeier’s work, check out her website https://www.andreanicolephotodesign.com/
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