Elsa Conklin’22

Photography has always been a significant part of my life. It started with my Nintendo DSi – I would walk around on family trips and take pictures just like any other tourist, but on a .3 megapixel camera. 

I originally started with just taking portraits of friends. Out of all types of photography, I am most passionate about portraiture; I love having the power to make someone feel good about themselves, as well as capturing important moments in peoples’ lives and between other people. I want to capture not just faces, but people, personalities, emotions. 

Photography is so intriguing to me because each photographer brings their own style to it and the photos show their own individual eye for art – two people can look at the exact same thing with the exact same camera and end up with two entirely different images. I’m always working on developing my own eye and editing style, and through that I have experienced a lot of self-growth. Every time I do a shoot I learn something new. There’s something really powerful in that idea that I’m constantly growing and changing as a photographer. 

So, here at Davidson, I like to take pictures whenever I can. With my personal growth in photography, I’m able to see the tangible changes and growth in my work, whereas that growth is often more difficult to see in other parts of my life. Photography helps me stay grounded, while at the same time is something that empowers and grows alongside me.  


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When I was studying in Spain this summer, I took my camera with me everywhere, including Sevilla. I love the contrast, from the old cathedral in the foreground to the trees and river in the distance. It symbolizes a broader contrast between the old and the new in this beautiful city. Photography helps me feel more grounded in my experiences, and helps me capture moments clearer than my eyes can see.

Elsa Conklin ’22 is an intended Hispanic Studies and History double major from Seattle, Washington. Email: elconklin@davidson.