Get to Know Autumn Cierra
Autumn Cierra jumped at the chance to pursue a four-year degree in photography and found an inclusive, supportive environment in CAM.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Apr 27, 2022
A Denver native, Autumn Cierra is looking forward to graduating from CU Denver this spring with a BFA in Photography. Cierra transferred from Metropolitan State University for an opportunity to study photography all four years of her undergraduate pursuit. When she’s not in class, Cierra enjoys writing, drawing, singing, and interior design. She also dabbles in kickboxing, bowling, Zumba, and is growing increasingly interested in horoscopes and zodiac signs. Lately, she has been creating works exploring mental health—particularly anxiety. Cierra says her current works “represent the symptoms, instability and emotions that I feel daily.” Cierra appreciates the many artistic opportunities and “extremely inclusive” nature of the College of Arts & Media (CAM), where one department or community is not valued at the expense of another.
1. What originally attracted you to CU Denver?
I started my first year as an undergraduate at MSU Denver, where I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was passionate about art, but I knew that I wanted to go into the field of creative writing because I have always enjoyed writing books, poetry, and so on. However, I have always had such an intense passion for photography that needed to be fueled, and when I found out that CU Denver had a four-year all-inclusive photography program, I was ecstatic and joined immediately.
2. How have your interests evolved as you’ve studied in CAM?
I’m still just as interested in photography as when I started. However, I’ve found that as I’ve progressed, I’ve developed a passion and interest in darkroom and film production, as it was something I was not very familiar with when I first started out. While I mainly work in a digital forum now, I will never stop loving analog and film processes. I’m now collecting vintage cameras that still work, and I’m hoping to still work with film after I graduate.
3. Have you been artistically inclined from a young age? What compelled you to seek a degree from an arts school?
I never really had art skills when I was younger. When it came to drawing, I was only capable of drawing stick figures up until college. Unless I traced something, I wasn’t capable. With singing, I had always been gifted with that. I’m the only one in my family who can sing. I was in choir and singing performances all throughout my life up until my senior year of high school. As for photography, I was always interested in it. It helped me develop an understanding about the way the world works and how we as humans interact with it. I feel like I’ve always had an eye for composing things, but I’m still learning. I wanted to get a degree in photography so that I could learn more about the medium and understand how to apply those skills to the skills I already have.
4. What are your post-CAM plans and/or ambitions?
I would like to run my own photography business. I started it up recently and it is called “The Lens of AC” (website, Instagram). Alongside running my own business, I have dreams of working for a magazine company as a photographer such as Vogue or Cosmopolitan. I would also like to travel throughout the country and explore the world and take photographs that will have a significant impact on others and on myself. I never want to stop being creative. I hope that no matter what I do in life, it will always take on some sort of creative approach.
Many of the friends I’ve made in CAM have photography dreams, and I’m looking forward to supporting them and to them supporting me after we graduate.
5. How do you get into a creative state of mind? Do you have any rhythms or rituals you employ?
I’m still figuring that out. I know for a fact that I don’t have a specific creative state of mind with my photography. Sometimes, it just happens. However, I do have a strategy with writing. I find it works best when I put on some piano or violin music to write, but I can also write when listening to regular music with words. As for photography, I feel the most creative when a thought just pops into my head. I get random bursts of creativity that are uncontrolled. I wish I could say that I know how it all works, but I don’t yet, and that’s okay.
I have such a large fascination with the unknown, and unpredictability. I like that to be a basis for my work when I create things. I’m still discovering who I am, as well as what my role is in the world. Photography helps me with that.