UT alum puts photography skills to work for Young-Williams
Hannah Overton, a 2016 UT alumna, majored in English Literature but took as many art classes as she could fit in her schedule. “Creativity has always been one of the most important parts of my life,” she says. As a kid, she would split her time equally between reading and writing, making art, and doing theater. She took photos with disposable cameras, used Microsoft Paint and Windows Movie Maker to create stop-motion videos, and spent a lot of time sketching.
“Though I chose to major in English, it made total sense to take art classes for the bulk of my electives,” she said.
“The A&A building was my favorite spot to hang out on campus.”
During one semester when she took a photography class, Hannah would sometimes stay in the darkroom until 3 a.m. “It was always so peaceful and relaxing, and I was 100% in my element in that environment,” she says. She describes creating prints in the darkroom as addicting. She especially loved seeing the images she captured slowly appearing on physical paper, which she now has hanging on the walls of her home.
Hannah was able to turn her long-standing photography hobby into job, beginning by volunteering as a sophomore at UT. She needed some volunteer hours for a school project, and asked the photographer at Young-Williams Animal Center if she could use Hannah’s skills. Hannah started out helping her with photo shoots, and would volunteer to fill in for the photographer when she was out of town. Eventually, when the photographer resigned, she emailed Hannah and encouraged her to apply for the job.
Hannah worked as the part-time photographer while finishing college, and when she graduated, Young-Williams created a full-time Visual Coordinator position for her.
One of her main roles is still to photograph all of the adoptable animals, but that has expanded to include videography, graphic design, branding, and more.
“I also get to snuggle with cute animals a lot—which is a HUGE perk.
Sometimes she even gets to keep shy or scared animals with her in her office until they’re confident enough to be adopted. One of the things Hannah loves about her job is that no day is exactly the same as the one before.
Hannah says she never imagined she would end up doing what she does for a living. As a reminder not to give up up on her own art, she decorates her apartment almost entirely with posters she’s designed, pictures she’s painted, and photos she’s created “just because I wanted to.” She advises soon-to-be graduating students not to limit themselves.
“Whether you end up owning your own business or working for someone else, never underestimate the importance of creating what you want to create for you and you alone.”
Hannah is always looking for ways to expand on her dreams and aspirations. In addition to being a contributing writer for CityView Magazine, she’s recently discovered that she loves taking headshots for small businesses, scheduling photography adventures, and collaborating with other local artists. Her never-ending long-term goal is striving to grow as an artist, both in her day job and after hours.