My name is Erica and I am a 21 year old lighting design student from Sweden. I study Lighting Design at Jönköping University, and I got the amazing opportunity to do my internship here in the US with Hartranft Lighting Design, and Andrea Hartranft. In this series of blogposts you will follow me and learn about my experiences here in the US.
I chose to study lighting design because I love technology and design. I want a job that challenges me, where I always will continue to learn and a job that is versatile. It was actually a coincidence that I chose to study lighting design because as many others, I did not know that it existed before. I found the education at my local university and I thought it sounded really interesting, and I am more than happy with my choice.
Even since I found out that our education included an internship, I knew I wanted to go to the US for my internship. The reason for this is that I wanted to learn as much as possible and I wanted to see how it is to be a lighting designer in an other country.
I met Andrea in Alingsås 2015 during Lights in Alingsås. Lights in Alingsås is an annual event that attracts about 80.000 visitors every year. Seven international lighting designers have their own team with students and during one week they create a light installation together. After the week of constructing, the seven sites are opened to the public.
January 18th my 6 week long internship started. I did not know what to expect, but I knew that I would learn a lot during these weeks. After only one week, I have got a better understanding of lighting design as a profession, and I have seen a lot of the DC area. I have attended meetings with architects and interior designers which gave me a good understanding about the design process and what everyone brings to the table. As a lighting designer, you have to learn things from everyone who is involved in this process because you have to understand things within their fields to be able to create a functioning lighting design plan. You have to coordinate your knowledge and ideas with everyone else.
I spent this past Friday night in, watching the news report about the approaching blizzard and in the middle of the newscast I realized I was craving ice cream and I wondered if I really should go outside now, it was dark and snowing and the blizzard was approaching. But I came to my senses, and realized that I couldn't spend a weekend possibly snowed in without having ice cream, so I headed out. It was a bit windy out but very peaceful and beautiful, apart from a few plow trucks, I was the only one out. To my delight the supermarket was open, although I felt a bit sorry for the guy working. I picked up my ice cream and headed to the cashier. We talked a bit, and he noticed that I wasn't from Rockville. ”You have an accent, where are you from?” he wondered, ”Sweden” I replied with a grin thinking who else would go out in the snow to buy ice cream, and he agreed, he thought I was a bit crazy for buying ice cream in the middle of a blizzard.
The day before the storm I went out looking for candles but I couldn't find anything until I got to the last store. The thing that worried me most with the blizzard was if there would be a blackout, so I bought some candles. It was actually a great comfort having a burning candle next to me when the storm raged outside, and I realized that the candle probably spoke to something primal in me. Fire and light has always meant safety to the human being, no matter if you are relying on it to survive or just to endure a blizzard. Light means much more to us than what we realize.
My thoughts go out to all the people troubled by the blizzard, those whose homes were destroyed by the snow or the floods and those who lost their lives.