Maya Fuhr photographed by Claire Milbrath in 2008

Work / Back To School

Photographer Maya Fuhr looks back on being a college fresher

To celebrate our Back to School month on It’s Nice That, we asked a bunch of creatives to send in some photographs of them taken in the early days of university and tell us a little about their time there. First up is Maya Fuhr, the spectacular photographer who came on to our radar with her brilliant photographs of girls in messy bedrooms. She’s an exciting, successful photographer now, but at the start things weren’t so easy. Here she is on being a fresher, and the perils of being 18-years-old at college.

Maya Fuhr

I went to Dawson College in Montreal. I was 18, young and confused and studied Cinema. I most definitely missed my first week there because I realised I could get away with it. I dragged out my high school mentality to college – that the initial week was always useless intros of “what’s to come this semester.”  My second week there was a bit depressing. I remember calling my Dad constantly and questioning why I was going to school.

Looking back, school never really came naturally to me. I didn’t like the schedule aspect, especially because I had just moved to Montreal from Victoria and I wanted to explore this foreign city. Dawson College had a very young population. It felt more like high school and I always felt too old to be there. I think I was a little arrogant, but I was totally in awe of the beautiful library in college and I spent most of my time watching old movies from the 1950s and 60s on the little TVs. I loved that private fantasy world and also my Cinema History, Production and Theatre classes.


Maya Fuhr photographed by Rebecca Storm in 2008

To go along with my obsession with the French New Wave and films from different eras, I was sort of old-fashioned. I wore a lot of blouses with bows and dresses and changed my lipstick a lot. I definitely expressed myself through fashion at school because it was the only thing that got me excited for my day. I wore some pretty wack outfits come to think of it!

I had friends outside of school because I moved to Montreal with my best friend Claire and some “skater boys” as well. To be honest I didn’t really make friends in school, I kept to myself. I hung out with some people from my elective theatre class but that’s about it.

College is probably different than university – less pressure. But it was the same as I expected.  An excuse to feel productive and have purpose at such an early and perplexing time. If I didn’t go to college I may have just been drunk off $1 Pabst beer those first three years in Montreal (who knows!).  It’s good to have structure straight outta high school and away from home.


Maya Fuhr photographed by Claire Milbrath in 2008


Maya Fuhr photographed by Claire Milbrath in 2008

Back to School
Throughout the month of October we’ll be celebrating the well-known autumnal feeling of Back to School. The content this month will be focusing on fresh starts, education, learning tools and the state of art school in the world today – delivered to you via fantastic in-depth interviews, features and conversations with talented, relevant, creative people.