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Aspiring photographer Chicago bound

Alumnus Eric Lu may have graduated from ACG Parnell College, but his legacy at the school will live on for many years to come.

Yearbooks abound with images the aspiring photographer has captured, from school productions and musical performances to quiz nights and socials. And now, after honing his craft in the ACG art department, Eric will soon be travelling to America to study photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the country’s most influential art schools.

“I was tossing up between Parsons School of Design and SAIC, and although Parsons may be more well-known overall, it is best known for fashion design, not photography. On the other hand, the SAIC photography faculty is extremely famous,” says Eric, who in addition to Parsons and SAIC was offered places at Maryland Institute College of Art, Rochester Institute of Technology and Arizona State University.

It’s not surprising he was in such great demand. Eric’s photographic talent – particularly for documentary-style photography – is astonishing.

“I think documenting the joys and pains we all experience under the same human condition and exploring the different facets of humanity through visual art is very meaningful and constructive to our society.”

The artistic teen hopes a Bachelor of Fine Arts will be the ideal stepping stone to becoming a professional photographer in a world-renowned photo agency, and is filled with anticipation for what lies ahead.

“I’m really looking forward to exploring different art forms, making new friends and being influenced by the American culture. It is going to be a new phase of my life and I cannot wait to see what is there for me to conquer.”

Luckily, thanks to his time at ACG Parnell College, he feels well equipped for the challenge.

“I feel very prepared for my university life. The most important thing ACG taught me was integrity, and as long as I hold on tight to integrity there is nothing to be feared in life. ACG also taught me how to socialise and communicate with others meaningfully and effectively, which will be hugely beneficial too.”

Eric arrived at ACG Parnell College in 2015, as an international student direct from Beijing China. Although settling into life in a new country brought a few challenges, the support he received from students and staff soon made him feel at home.

“One of my high school highlights was getting help and encouragement from great teachers and classmates when I first started. I also loved being a prefect in 2018 and 2019 and contributing to the school community. But what I liked most about ACG was the people – students, teachers and staff alike. ACG did not really feel like a school to me, but rather a big family. I was an international student and ACG was my home away from home.”

It was also the ideal training ground for a budding artist.

“The art department resources, such as painting equipment and software, were fantastic and teachers granted me a huge amount of freedom and flexibility when I was working on my art, which allowed me to really explore what I wanted to create. My art teachers were all very light-hearted, professional and never ran out of ideas to suggest. I genuinely enjoyed conversing with them about my art, and really about anything in life.”

ACG Parnell’s International Dean Nikki Rakete believes Eric’s vibrant and positive energy around the school has been greatly missed.

“Eric’s passion for photography combined with his intrinsic motivation to help others benefitted ACG Parnell students and staff throughout his time at our school. He has paved the way for other aspiring young photographers and has been a fantastic role model for our younger students,” she says.