Makayla Westrum hanging out on MCAD's patio. Portrait by Hannah Taylor.
Makayla Westrum hanging out on MCAD's patio. Portrait by Hannah Taylor.
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BFA student Makayla Westrum chats about her passion for photography and her neat collective project that features Minneapolis artists.

Photo by Makayla Westrum

Makayla Westrum is an undeclared sophomore considering majoring in photography or graphic design in the fall. A native of South Minneapolis, she is interested in all types of photography but her favorite types include street, nightlife, and urban photography. This past year she has spent most of her time doing nightlife and concert photography. Her outside interests include snowboarding at the ski hill where she works in the winter, watching videos on youtube, and spending time outdoors.

"My interest in photography came from my dad. He always let me borrow his camera even though I definitely broke more than one as a kid. I took pictures of EVERYTHING!"

Photo by Makayla Westrum

What brought you to MCAD?

I came to MCAD because I knew I didn’t want to leave the state and it was one of the first schools to grab my interest. I went to all of the orientation events and they got me really excited. The huge photo studios here really caught my eye.

How did you get started in concert photography?

I started shooting all of my friends' hip hop events at the Depot Coffee Shop in Hopkins, Minnesota. After that, I spent the summer of 2015 interning at the Skyway Theatre downtown. This is the main hub for EDM music in Minneapolis. I really loved the high-energy atmosphere. I really enjoy hip hop music and so recently I have started to shoot hip hop and rap concerts.

Photo by Makayla Westrum

Tell me about the coolest event/concert/person/thing you've gotten to photograph?

As far as shows I have already done it is a tie between taking photos at the Xavier Wulf show (Fine Line Music Cafe, 12/16) and Hucci (The Loft, 9/12). These were my favorite because I am a huge fan of both of them as artists.

This summer I will be taking photos at Soundset Music Festival. I typically go every year. I really love the Rhymesayers community and the artists they bring to stage. Shooting the festival is a dream for me.

Who inspires you?

This year I was very inspired by the artist Asteryx. He is an Instagram phenomenon with over 216,000 followers. He inspired me to plan a trip to Chicago and Los Angeles this summer to go shoot the city streets. I love how he interacts with people on the street in order to capture amazing portraits of everyday citizens. He is well known for his aerial photography. I hope to someday go up in a helicopter and do the same. Even though he is so popular, after reaching out to him he followed me and for the past year has been commenting on my photographs. I really appreciate artist interaction.

Photo by Makayla Westrum

Tell me about the artist collective projection I've seen on your website.

I’m calling it People From the Internet and it’s a project I’ve started recently. Basically what I'm doing is offering five free portraits to local artists in return for letting me interview them and feature their work on this collective I’ve started on my blog page. I want the collective to include all different types of artists from musicians and dancers to traditional 2D and 3D artists. Right now I’m in a photobook class at MCAD and I’d like to feature all of the interviews I collect in a book for my final project.

Anyone interested in participating in this project can contact Makayla via email at mwestrum@mcad.edu. Learn more about Makayla and her work on her website and blog.