Letting the image speak: Lawrence High senior composes her own narrative through shooting pictures

Artstar winner Haley Fischer.




Haley Fischer likes looking at the world through the lens of a camera. With a simple click, she can capture movement or poses, amazement or anger. For Fischer, photography puts real life on display.

“You can see the emotion in photography,” the Lawrence High senior says. “Being able to impact your viewers or people through one image is just a powerful media that I completely fell in love with.”

Fischer picked up a camera in eighth grade, and the ability to catch something with one snap of a lens soon became her passion.

“I was always that kid in class that took it more seriously than everyone else,” Fischer says. “They took it as an art elective to graduate.”

She’s taken an art class every semester since then and discovered her life’s calling.

“The more I knew about it, the more I wanted to do it and make it a career instead of a class,” Fischer says.

Her passion and talent in the area of photographer earned her the ArtStar award for March. The ArtStar award is sponsored by Jayhawk Dental and The World Company.

Lawrence High art teacher Angelia Perkins has a few rules she passes along to her photography students.

“Take photographs about things, not of things,” Perkins says. “Build a story that no one else could create with your chosen subject.”

Fischer does just that.

“Haley’s images are like words put into a visual. One can look at her images over and over and continue to manifest story lines,” Perkins says.

Storytelling of all kinds

Fischer says once she delved into the world of storytelling through pictures, the art of snapping photos became much more meaningful.

“When I really started to get into the story part of it and when it came from personal experiences, it made my photography almost mean more to me than anything else,” Fischer says.

Some of those personal events include her parents getting divorced and her aunt being diagnosed with breast cancer the same year. But art was her steadfast companion.

“You can’t let your past or what’s happened to you control where you’re going to go in the future. I just decided to pick something that I was passionate about and go into that 100 percent,” Fischer says. “Every year, stuff happens and art is always there.”

Fischer also draws and paints to make sure she has all the art bases covered.

“I feel like it’s important to know the foundation for all kinds of media,” she says.

That’s also why she’s well-versed in shooting and developing film, even while the world moves to a faster way to capture images.

“The whole world of photo is going more digital,” Fischer says. “But I also think learning the film side of it was really important, to know how the process was and the foundation of everything.”

While Fischer like the benefits of digital – it’s faster and you know what you’re going to get – there’s something about the old-school way of getting prints.

“There’s just a quality of (film) that you just can’t get in digital,” Fischer says. “Sometimes I use them both in mixed media stuff.”

Favorite subjects

You might notice a lot of Fischer’s photos have children in them. She works a lot with her little sister, and kids are her favorite subjects to photograph.

“They inspire you as you’re taking pictures of them,” Fischer says. “They have an open mind, which I think is so cool. It’s easier to get them to do something that’s new and different.”

Fischer was selected for a project that brought artists from both high schools to go to the district’s elementary schools to take pictures of students for the Lawrence district’s Web site. They were hired by the school board to get kids in action, learning in local schools.

“I’m not exactly used to (action shots),” Fischer says. “Usually, it’s staged. I control everything.”

Fischer also takes pictures for friends and family, including some friends’ senior portraits – anything to get a camera in her hands.

“These images she designs are constantly tumbling around in the attic of her mind,” Perkins says. “She is always shooting for herself, attempting to get these images from brain to paper.”

And through all of the snaps and flashes, Fischer discovered her future career. She’s applied to a few colleges and even received a scholarship worth $64,000 from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

“I’m paying for all my schooling on my own,” Fischer says. “The scholarship definitely made (going to college) a reality.”

But she’s waiting for an envelope that could come any day now.

“I’m supposed to get a letter from Columbus College of Art and Design mid-March, so I go to the mailbox every day,” she says.

Fischer wants to share what she captures in photos and impact those who see them, all while giving her an outlet for her own feelings.

“I think with all art, it’s about capturing something. But with photography, it’s just so much more real to me,” Fischer says. “Photography is my love.”