Maddie Ott ’22, Learns About What It Means to be an Independent Media Entrepreneur At Teresa Flowers in Portland, OR.

Hi! My name is Maddie Ott. I am a rising junior, and I am double majoring in Sociology and Film Studies. This summer I’ve had the privilege to intern for a locally based photographer from Portland, Oregon: Teresa Flowers. Teresa is an independent photographer, this means that she gets hired from private photoshoots and events, but she is also creating and expanding upon her photography brand simultaneously. My assignments with Teresa fluctuate quite frequently, but my primary responsibility is organizing and running her social media accounts. Her main account has around 10,000 followers! I was drawn to this internship because of my background in film production and writing. Although the internship does not directly align with the career I am hoping to pursue post-college, working in the photography industry has given me a good sense of a lot of the key components necessary to be successful in media production. 

I am very fortunate to be in an internship where most of my responsibilities take place via remote platforms, so I am not directly implicated by COVID-19 restrictions. However, I have also had the opportunity to go to the studio and help out with some of Teresa’s more technical jobs. Currently, we are working on creating a run-way and pop-up shop for Teresa’s clothing line. Her brand Alien Mermaid Cove is a sustainably sourced second-hand online clothing shop that she has recently started promoting. Most of the work that I do in the studio, is in regards to the pop-up shop that she is planning to have at the end of the month. My responsibilities for this include, creating a website to sell to people who will not be in attendance, coordinating with models and other interns about clothing details, and my personal favorite, editing the photos that Teresa has taken of the models. If you are interested in seeing the website that we created to promote the items, you can access it here:

Although work at the studio is different every day, I still feel like I am learning a lot about what it means to be an independent media entrepreneur. There are tons of moving components that need to be managed professionally, and this internship has taught me how important it is to appeal to a greater audience. Teresa’s main source of income comes from her artwork and photography which makes it even more crucial that all of the content we produce as a team looks good. Already, I have become more comfortable in an environment where my actions are an integral part of a bigger enterprise. 

So far, my favorite aspects of the job have been working with the team to problem solve and plan how different projects are going to be successful in a socially distanced world. We must be cognizant of how the public may react, safety precautions, and of course, how to make things look amazing! This internship has taught me a lot about communication and problem solving on a broader spectrum.

Experiences like Maddie’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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