Opening night was fast approaching, and set designer Purnima Bhaskaran was working hard to get ready. But she found herself getting distracted from her main duties.
"I realized I like the imagery aspect of it. I liked what frames I was seeing,” she said. “Making the posters were my favorite part ever. There was a huge play that we were putting on, but I loved making the poster better.”
Ocean Motion – Purnima Bhaskaran Portfolio
Purnima had moved to Seattle to take a job as an architect. Set design was just a side gig, a way to nurture her creativity. But as her interest in visual design grew, she decided to make some life changes.
One was to pursue a new career as a UX designer, working on web sites and mobile apps in the technology field.
“I realized that visuals were my thing,” Purnima said. “So I transitioned from architecture into UX design because I liked the nitty-gritty of all things tech. That is one space where you can ‘build the building’ but still go back and fix it. In architecture, you don’t have the luxury to do so.”
Purnima's other change was to look for a way to further explore the power of imagery. That’s when she heard about the
Certificate in Photography program at the University of Washington.
So she signed up, and a whole new world came into focus.
In Her Own Words
Purnima Bhaskaran explains how the Certificate in Photography helped advance her career and gave her a new perspective on the world.
Play Seeing the Bigger Picture
Despite having a design background and a pretty nice camera, Purnima was a newbie when it came to photography.
“I used to look at other photographs, other images, and go to galleries, but never understood the process behind it,” she said. “I never knew what I was doing wrong, never understood what I could do better.”
Purnima checked out a variety of online photography courses, but something was still missing.
"I've gone online and explored ideas, how to light things, how to get down to the right exposures and create this effect in my photograph," she said. "But what I wasn't learning was the big picture — how that meaning or that idea would translate to another person, which in the end makes or breaks the message that you're putting out into the world creatively.”
In the UW program, Purnima found an important difference.
“It was so much fun to meet a group of collaborative people who are all focused on making better images, and from different walks of life, different experiences,” she said. “But to actually have people look at and critique your images is that point of inflection, that human contact that really helps knowledge, growth and understanding.”