The summer’s study in London is wrapping up, and for my photography students that means final portfolios. This class has been both a pleasure and a challenge for me, and it has been a real treat to see all my students grow as photogs over the past five weeks. They all have come a long way since their initial, pre-flight submissions. I’m pleased with them all, but I wanted to highlight a couple of stand-out portfolios.

Again, I want to be clear: I’m proud of all my students’ work this summer, and the selection below is just a taste of some overall good work. To see them all, check out the links to their photo blogs for the course. The featured portfolios are in no particular order.

Amy Anderson’s final portfolio was a surprise. Amy’s got such an easy-going personality, often I thought she was bored with the class, or just asleep. Yet, I think the whole class was quite impressed with her portfolio. It had the most cohesive theme of them all, based on a street photography approach. She calls it “Creeping through the Lens,” and while I’m not sure how the word “creeping” became associated in both of my classes with street photography, her work exceeds the expectations of her title. My favorite of the selections is her “Here’s Waldo,” featured in my selections below. Not only is it a great portrait, it captures some of the quirkiness of life in England.

Kassie Bettis’ work was also featured by me early on — and her sister looks a lot like her. Her work is thoughtful and understated, like Kassie herself. There’s a sense of the hidden there; her subjects often frame her images, and offer a tentative view into her world caught on film. Kassie also seemed to be everyone’s favorite subject for course portraits. Below, I use her image “A Nonchalant Attitude” as a strong representation of her work. The contrast between her flowery shoes and the stolid stonehenge speaks of the contrast between a harder past and a brighter present.

Many of the students played with perspective and camera placement to great effect — e.g. Sarah Gunnels’ work — and this might be Emily Moss’ trademark. Her portrait “Movement” is not only excellently lit, but provides a great view of a common place for Londoners. Emily has a nice grasp of space and place in her portfolio, and each of her photos shows a unique perspective coupled with a similarly unique atmosphere.

One of my most consistent photographers this summer has been Brandi Gaines, but this is not surprising since her undergraduate degree is in fine art. Brandi’s submission for the Portrait Gallery assignment is not included in her final portfolio, but I include it below as a very strong image inspired by Sarah Lucas’s self portraits. Brandi is a careful photographer, and she does not display just any image. Her eye is critical and deliberate, but she has no hint of arrogance. She is always ready to find a new inspiration, and I have enjoyed her work over the last few weeks.