Looking through the lens

The best nooks in Fargo, according to student photographers

When browsing through Instagram, you might find a couple of Concordia’s own student-photographers. You might click on their profiles and peruse their unique photos and notice their unusual backgrounds of graffiti walls or urban alleyways. But where do Concordia seniors and photographers, Morgan Schleif and Bri Lee, find their one-of-a-kind locations? The answer is: they don’t.

This Graffiti wall behind the Fargo Forum headquarters in downtown Fargo is one spot photographers Morgan Schleif and Bri Lee like for taking pictures. Schleif and Lee normally don’t look for specific spots to take photos, preferring to walk and let the scenery catch their artistic eye. Photo by Maddie Malat.
This Graffiti wall behind the Fargo Forum headquarters in downtown Fargo is one spot photographers Morgan Schleif and Bri Lee like for taking pictures. Schleif and Lee normally don’t look for specific spots to take photos, preferring to walk and let the scenery catch their artistic eye. Photo by Maddie Malat.

A photographer might have a specific idea and location to make the perfect photo, but for Lee and Schleif it’s not about finding the perfect location; it’s about going on an adventure and just seeing what interesting things they find along the way.

Their photography careers started with family. For Lee, her interest started with her father. Coming from a family of photography, it came naturally to Lee. For Schleif, it also started with family, but with her brother. At first Schleif was the subject of her brother’s work, and then one day decided she wanted to be on the other side of the camera and fell in love with the art of photography. For both of them, their passion for photography has grown throughout their lives and time at Concordia.

Being photographers on campus has a lot of perks. They often work with different student organizations, like CEC or the homecoming committee. Working with the organizations has given them opportunities to capture Cornstock and Les Miserables, along with much more.

“Being photographers gives us a lot of ground to cover.” Schlief said. “We get to take pictures for different organizations and events, and we get to meet some really great people.”

Through meeting people and working with different organizations, the connections that the photographers have made become an intricate web of relationships between the photographers and the community.

“When someone asks me to take pictures for them, it’s interesting to see how I met them in the first place,” Lee said.

Gooseberry Park, a popular place to go to for a relaxing walk off campus, is another location Schleif and Lee like to take photos. Photo by Maddie Malat.
Gooseberry Park, a popular place to go to for a relaxing walk off campus, is another location Schleif and Lee like to take photos. Photo by Maddie Malat.

When going out with clients or simply going on photography adventures in Fargo-Moorhead, the photographers might not be in plain sight. Schleif’s favorite spot to take pictures is where there isn’t a spot.

“Often with clients I’ll ask them to meet me somewhere and we will work our way somewhere else, and see what cool things we find along the way. … We don’t really know where we are going, ever,” said Schleif.

Along with talent, the photographers have a trained eye to look for good characteristics in a photo such as an interesting background or good lighting. With clients, Lee and Schleif don’t always think about what they might come across on their way from one place to another. But that’s okay, because it usually works in their favor to produce one-of-a-kind photos.

“We don’t put as much thought into the photo as it looks like we do. We start somewhere and move to another spot,” Lee said. “Clients ask where the favorite spots are and I say ‘Let’s go to this area,’ depending on the vibe of what they want. … It’s a constant learning process. Things come up [with clients] and we think of what to do on the spot.”

When taking one of their photography adventures, the two photographers don’t look for specific spots, but a few favorites are the graffiti wall by the Fargo Forum, Gooseberry Park and some old dirt roads.

Oftentimes by not having a specific plan, the photographers come across better locations or scenery than what they were expecting.

“When you are looking intentionally for locations, you’re missing the other things along the way.” Schleif said. “If we aren’t attached to a particular area, you will find greater things outside of what you were originally looking for.”

This article was submitted by Mckenzy Diehl, contributing writer.

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Contributing Writer

This article was contributed to The Concordian by an outside writer. Questions and comments on this article should be directed to concord@cord.edu.

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