Photographer heading to Chicago to study at top institute
Rejection and long periods of sitting tight had become the norm for photographer Jake Silby.
It wasn't until he received an A4-sized package, instead of the usual-sized envelope of rejection, that the New Plymouth creative realised he'd been accepted into one of the world's finest learning institutes.
The 24-year-old will relocate to the city of Chicago in August where he will undertake a Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
"This program is one of the best in the world of its type," he said.
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"I am super excited."
The 24-year-old believed he was the first New Zealander to be accepted into the photography programme, which was no easy feat with an admission rate of only about 10 per cent.
Silby graduated from Massey University with a first class honours degree in Design, majoring in Photography in 2015. Following his study he packed up and moved to New York where he divided his time between work and internships, including a three month stint at Magnum Photos in the archives department last year.
After returning home Silby wanted to extend his education and said he felt "drawn back" to the States.
He went on to apply at a few top schools around the country, some with acceptance rates as low as two per cent. He became accustomed to rejection, drawn-out responses and being placed on waitlists.
But that all changed when he received a healthy-sized package from SAIC.
"I was incredibly excited I got the letter in the mail and was like 'oh my god'," he said.
The school didn't email decisions around acceptance, he said, and so, because he knew it was on its way, he spent days analysing the track and trace information.
"I was on the DHL tracking website looking at the weight like 'is it heavy, it's half a pound, that's kind of heavy'."
Attending SAIC was perfect for Silby, who also enjoyed working with archives and collections. The institute was known as a museum school because it was closely linked to the country's second largest museum, The Art Institute of Chicago.
The two-year programme would also help Silby, who described his photography style as bringing to life overlooked aspects of landscapes, work towards becoming an educator in the arts.
He was now in the planning stages of his relocation, which included raising funds for his tuition and so he's launched a Boosted campaign where he was hoping to raise $3000 within the next four weeks.