With the air around her charged with nervous energy, Edith Young ’11 peered around backstage at Fashion Week Spring 2017 in New York as models, stylists, makeup artists, and jostling photographers rushed back and forth from dressing rooms to the stage. Young was given the opportunity to photograph the behind-the-scenes atmosphere of Jill Stuart’s spring collection, as well as write a story about the first show by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Young’s alma mater.
“It was really fun to get this backstage documentation of [the show] before everything happened. Also, you get so much more time with the pieces and the people backstage because when they walk on the runway, it takes 30 seconds tops, so it was great to see them while they were all nervous and lining up,” said Young.
Young’s interest in photography sparked after taking a photography class in her Junior year at Andover. She later went on to pursue her love for photography and art in college.
Haley Scott ’11, one of Young’s friends from Andover, said, “As the very fortunate subject of many of Edith’s photos, at Andover and beyond, her work has become my most precious collection of nostalgia. Some of my favorite memories from Andover are captured in her photographs, and I revisit them often. I’m so lucky — I get to remember Andover through her eyes and camera lens, which is a beautiful and joyful way to remember my time there.”
“I think Andover, with all of its history, nostalgia, beauty, and connection to her family, was the perfect place for Edith’s photography education and really informed her passions and aesthetic,” continued Scott.
While Young has always had a passion for art, the challenges that she faced at Andover helped shape her changing attitude towards art and photography.
“I was rejected from Art- 500, and I think that made me want to do it more or get better at what I was working on. Experiences with adversity at Andover made me take myself more seriously. During my Senior year, I took a class at the Addison, and I interned there after I graduated so getting a survey of American art through that helped me a lot,” said Young.
Today, Young utilizes social media, specifically Instagram, as a means of exhibiting her work and connecting with brands, models, and other photographers at @edithwyoung.
“I try to use Instagram a bunch. It’s mostly helpful in terms of getting people to see your work, so I’ve gone and connected with people like the brand Jack & Mulligan that I shot which was through them finding my work and sending me an email and asking me if we could collaborate on something, so I think it’s super helpful in those terms. It creates a more democratic playing field for any photographer to get more gigs than they would have before if there hadn’t been social media or when there was not social media,” said Young.
Over the course of her junior year at RISD, Young created a 126-page novel inspired by Andover titled “Ra Ra Brunonia.” The prototype features Young’s photographs as well as distorted images of text from Jeffrey Eugenides’s “The Marriage Plot,” a fictional book about his time at Brown University.
“I feel like [the novel] is the most clearly influenced by going to Andover. I had this idea while I was at Andover that I would’ve wanted to document what it was like to be there in that same style, but I had never done it. [At RISD], we could pick one project that we wanted to expand on for a yearlong course, so I decided to document what the lifestyle was at an Ivy League school during this time and make it look more like a yearbook in terms of nostalgizing the images of what these people and characters looked like. I was also trying to draw parallels between [‘The Marriage Plot’] and the photos I was taking,” said Young.
Young is currently an editorial assistant at Outdoor Voices, an activewear company, where she works on pre-production to post-production for their shoots. She is also freelance photographer for The Wing, a new women’s club and co-working space in New York City.