Student Artist Spotlight: Rida Jan

Rida Jan, self portrait. PHOTO COURTESY OF RIDA JAN.

There are certain forms of creative expression that produce works of beauty from seemingly simple tasks, like taking a picture. 

Rida Jan, a junior biology major, is a photographer and videographer, who described her experience to the Foghorn. 

“Growing up I expressed myself [creatively] by playing piano and doing crafts often,” said Jan. These activities are some of what she had perceived to be the limits of what could be considered art. 

Eventually, as people began creating more videos through YouTube, Jan saw the possibilities of creating art through a new lens. “During high school my family and I traveled to Paris and I made a video showcasing my travel experience,” Jan said.

 Inspired by YouTube travel vlogs she watched before, the video featured a montage of Paris’ famous landmarks and attractions, as well as expressions she felt through the journey. After receiving positive feedback, including a few hundred views, Rida was inspired to further pursue videography as a passion. 

Audience interpretation of visual mediums are often driven by their own experiences. For Jan, the photo production process is up to the creative discretion of the photographer and can be a reflection of their passion and emotion. 

“Having a vision beforehand and seeing it come to life while doing the project is my favorite aspect,” Jan said. “It’s cool that I can envision a creative thing inside my head and put in all the work that brings this creativity to life.”

When Jan works with her clients or models, she allows for creativity and expressivity on the part of the subject. Instead of displaying a preference for posed photographs, Jan exhibits aspects of naturalistic photography with the people she works with. Now that she’s back on campus, Jan hopes to work with USF organizations for photoshoots and promotional video projects. Her experience photographing graduation events, weddings, individual models, and more motivated her to further explore different creative avenues within her work.

Jan also uses her photography as an avenue for expressing her values, like social justice. During the Black Lives Matter protests last year, Jan documented the historic demonstrations by taking photos and videos that she posted to her photography account on Instagram. These photos were reshared by others, especially by students from USF. 

“There’s a lot of scope for creative individuals like myself to express themselves on campus and feel like they are in a welcoming and supportive environment amongst the student body,” Jan said. 

“As a pre-med student and a bio major, there is a lot of academic work that I have to commit to, and photography and videography takes me out of that world so I can express myself in a way that is not focused on academics,” she said. 

Ultimately, Jan appreciates this benefit of her work and even recommends that every college student find a creative passion, something outside of school to de-stress and feel inspired. 

You can see more of Jan’s work on her Instagram: @rsjanphotography

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