Noura Al-Salem – Alumna GS 10 – USA
What have you been doing since graduating from the General Studies Program?
I have been trying to find a good life/work balance and figuring out my own schedule for making art outside of the structure of school. For the most part I freelance several jobs, both photo related and not, as well as apply for grants. I am also planning various projects, both photo and video which I will be working on in the UK and the Middle East over the next few months. Finally, I am creating a portfolio to apply to MFA programs in the coming year.
What impact has the experience of going through the ICP program had on you?
The year at ICP resulted in an intense amount of change and growth in my work, which made me see so clearly the value of struggle while figuring out how to make successful work. Since graduating, this lesson has really impacted my entire life in many ways and definitely for the better. So much that used to seem daunting, whether it be making new work or even learning an instrument, is now something that I am eager to work through to reach the other side. Being at ICP also really re-awakened my enthusiasm for art. Not only for making it, but also viewing and especially discussing it with others. I left the program with a strong group of fellow artists who share my passion for photography and keep me excited about it.
Is there anything that has surprised you subsequent to graduation?
The thing that has been the most surprising since graduating was the discovery of how many new skills I gained while at ICP. Because the program is so intensive, it can be hard to see how much information you are absorbing. Since leaving, more and more situations arise in which I discover that I know something I didn’t even realize I had learned.
What would you say to people contemplating applying to the program?
Do it! It will be a long and arduous year, but at the end the sense of accomplishment is huge. ICP is also a place that welcomes you back year after year and to have a supportive community behind you can sustain you through the most difficult parts of your artistic life going forward – for that reason alone I would recommend it.