Nicole Burns

Viewing the world through photography

Wherever Nicole Burns goes, her camera normally travels with her.

"Photography is about having an eye for seeing beauty," says the senior art and design major from LaGrange. "I usually photograph the abstract, the things that you wouldn't necessarily see as beautiful at first, and then I try to make it beautiful by taking a photograph of it."

Nicole developed a passion for photography from her high school art teacher, who set up a dark room and taught students how to develop their own film. LaGrange College professors helped her refine her craft.

"In high school we used a point-and-shoot camera," she says, "but at the college I learned how to work with my camera with the shutter speed, ISO and aperture."

Through LaGrange College, Nicole traveled to Paris this past January to study art and architecture with art professors John Lawrence and Dorothy Joiner.

Before the trip, students studied the major works of the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Rodin, Musée Picasso, Centre Pompidou, Palais de Versailles and Chartres Cathedral. They also attended illustrated lectures in French art and architecture, as well as the history of travel photography of Americans while in Europe.

While in Paris, they studied at the museums and made day trips to Versailles and Chartres.

"I'm so glad LaGrange College gave me this experience," Nicole says. "I got to see so many pieces of artwork that I never thought I'd get to see in person."

At a senior art exhibit at the college's Lamar Dodd Art Center, Nicole displayed some of her black-and-white photographs she took in Paris as well as some from Mexico, where her mother lives. Her other works included pictures that captured light as an art form, whether it be the light shining into the window of a cathedral, the lights of a spinning ride at a local carnival, or the light silhouetting tree branches.

Nicole's bachelor's degree in art and design includes a concentration not only in photography, but also in graphic design.

Her other works at the senior show featured applied graphic design in which she created professional-quality designs that she featured on clipboards, stationery, clocks, picture frames, pillows and clothing. She enlisted the use of a website,, to apply her designs to fabric for the pillow, a scarf, bracelet and shorts.

"I tried to take art and apply it to everyday items," Nicole says. "People don't always think of designing clothes or making patterns as being an art. I love making patterns. I enjoy the patterns Vera Bradley does, that Lilly Pulitzer does.

I love fashion and design; it helps art become not just something you can see, but you can apply it to your everyday life."

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.