Caitlin Arnold

Sep 5th, 2012

Fall means back to school, buckling down and studying up.  We asked some of our favorite creative people about what they’ve learned as students, and what they could teach us now.


U: How did what you studied in school affect where you ended up today and what you’re doing now?

CA: I studied photography at Columbia College in Chicago and worked in the digital photography lab. It was there that I met and formed some of the most important relationships that helped me after graduation and to this day. Once I graduated, I was hired at a fine art printing and scanning company and worked with photographers in Chicago and around the country. Having that job taught me about the back end of the art world, the importance of keeping track of your editions, how galleries work and how to be a successful working artist. It not only gave me that knowledge, but introduced me to a world of artists I looked up to in school and became an important part of their practice. I learned the importance of having a studio practice and taking time off life to focus on making work. It was this realization that brought me to Omaha, NE where I've lived for ten months, and have dedicated my time to making work. 


U: What do you wish you’d learned in school that you found out later?  Was it something that could even be taught?

CA: I think that what I wish I'd learned was about maturity and patience. But those two things only come to you in time and growth, so I don't think it could have been taught. I guess the best thing would have been to make sure I was pushed or guided to that path. Which I think was the case because I feel like I've grown a lot since I graduated. 


U: What’s in your toolbox?  What are the items you need in your workspace to get things done?

CA: I always need a tape player, my computer and a desk. And a door to close. 


U: What’s in your pocket? Do you have anything that’s always with you so you can sketch/take photos/make notes anytime?

CA: My pocket right now...a bottle cap, a lighter and lint. I ALWAYS have my point and shoot camera, the Yaschica T4, in my bag. That's been my camera of choice for a long time now and sometimes the best pictures happen out of nowhere. 


U: Who was your most memorable teacher… of all time, not just in a classroom.  What did they teach you?

CA: Wow... I think my parents. They worked so fucking hard to make sure my brothers and I had anything and everything we needed to succeed. They also supported my decision to go to art school and have never stopped believing in me. 


U: If you taught a class that you could base on some expertise or obsession you have, what would it be? 

CA: Oh it would totally be a photography class for kids where each student would have an unlimited amount of disposable cameras and I could teach them about the beauty in the every day object.  Or maybe a class about light. Not the science behind light but how beautiful it can be. The way the sun cuts through the trees and into your car in the late afternoon or illuminates a darkened room ever so slightly. It would be a class where we would meet randomly throughout the day, sort of an on call situation. 



Caitlin Arnold is an Omaha based photographer. She holds a degree from Columbia College, Chicago, and is a member of staff of ACRE, Chicago. Her current body of work, Andy, is a growing and continuing portrait of a single life. In moments ranging from banal to intimate, we go beyond our comfort zone and enter a world most do not get to see. Caitlin’s work can be found online at the Donut Shop.