Hannah Paull, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, is an entrepreneur with a passion for expression, photography and exploration.
Paull started playing around with photography, specifically portraits, when she enrolled in an independent study through her high school.
“I used to spend time on the website Tumblr.com, and it inspired me to create my own, more meaningful art,” Paull said.
By working closely with her photography teacher, Scott Greenwald, Paull learned about the finer details of the art form.
“Hannah started out with an eye for photography,” he said in a phone interview. “She developed her own unique style, and I was impressed by how quickly she learned things.”
AN ARTIST AT HEART
Paull said her artistic background as a dancer influenced her to capture different human expressions.
“My goal when photographing a person, object or place is to have everyone view it the same way that I do,” Paull said.
With the support of her grandfather and his old camera, Paull went cross-country to visit San Francisco to explore and learn more about photography.
Paull considered her time meandering around the busy streets of the city to be a “trial-and-error” period for her photography.
She returned home to Atlanta and won several photography contests.
Paull said it “felt good to see a good product” after winning a few awards, and she soon began to explore more of her hometown.
A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE
Her greatest inspiration was Kaveh Sadri, a close friend who passed away. Sadri “led a different lifestyle” and took her to areas that she “would never come across on a regular day.”
“We went to sketchy areas that people never see,” Paull said. “We went to railroad tracks, underneath bridges and discovered an inhabited teepee.”
Paull would pick up Sadri in her car, and he told her in which direction to go.
“Kaveh spent hours with me giving me pep talks and helping me find passion in life,” Paull said. “I think he was missing that in his own life which is why he pushed it onto me.”
Most recently, Paull has created her own line of canvas art. She adds inspirational quotes on top of her original photography with the program Adobe Photoshop.
“My mission is for my photography to inspire people, either with my own handpicked quote or with theirs,” Paull said.
Some of Paull’s canvases are made from the photographs taken on film cameras.
“I love using film cameras because there is definitely a different feel. I have to know which setting to use and the correct way to use it,” Paull said. “Once you drop off your film, it’s done — you just have to wait.”
Through the website Kickstarter.com, viewers can see a slideshow of her original art and a summary of her background experience with photography.
Paull’s line is called “Braveheart Designs.” Her slogan is “Photography by me, unique canvas wall art for you.”
Paull launched her website on Sept. 7, hoping to get backers who pledge money towards the creation of her own professional website.
“Hannah is doing an amazing project in memory of her friend Kaveh, but it’s not just artwork,” said her roommate Shayna Leeds, a sophomore in CGS. “Kickstart is giving her the opportunity to raise enough money to allow customers to customize her photography with their own favorite quotes.”
So far she has three backers who have pledged $120 toward her goal of $1,000.
“I hope to create a website that allows visitors to click and drag my photography and quotes onto a canvas that will then be printed and hung in a dorm room,” Paull said.
Her website has more of her back-story, information on her product and her long-term goals and photos.
“When I go out for photographing, what catches my eye is stuff I don’t see often or things that can be overlooked,” Paull said. “For example, the paint rusting on a train track.”
The project will be funded only if at least $1,000 is pledged to her account through the Kickstarter website by Oct. 7.
“I helped Hannah think about what she wanted the photos in the video to convey to the audience,” said David Danesh, a sophomore in CGS, who helped Paull create her video montage for the website.
“I am ready to buy a canvas for my apartment,” Danesh said. “Hannah is very creative and has a good vision. She is wacky, caring and always living in the moment.”
“It’s nice seeing the canvas in our suite every day and knowing that Hannah took that picture, it’s not something we just bought at Target,” Leeds said. “She’s even thinking about doing a line for sororities and Big/Little week.”
Paull is making plans to expand her art and include four to five photographs on a canvas.
“I want to market this new idea to Greek life or other clubs at BU,” Paull said. “With several photos of an organization, in addition to a quote that matches their mission, I hope this will be a success.”
Paull said she has hopes to take her project beyond Kickstarter.
“With Kickstarter’s help, I hope to create my own website and be a name that everyone knows about, especially college students looking for art to liven up a dorm room,” Paull said.
Paull is a member of BU’s photography club.
“It is cool to see other people’s focuses when we go out to new places in Boston,” Paull said.
Greenwald said he is pleased with Paull’s progress with her art and encourages her to delve into her creativity.
“I want her to expand on her art by traveling to new locations and honing in on her style. I’m happy she found a niche for what people want,” he said. “She has always been so willing to go out and take risks. The time and energy she puts into her work is impressive. I hope her ventures are successful.”