Roots student portfolio: Christina Wnek


Even if she had to be pulled out, emilie inc. designer Christina Wnek literally jumped right in to the Roots Workshop. With a background in graphic design, fine art photography and some weddings, Christina was the student with the least experience but the most to gain.

Christina was assigned to cover the Barnstable County's Sheriff Youth Academy program, a summer school of sorts with a military slant for troubled and not so troubled youth. The first day was spent at the Fire Academy learning fire safety, and the second, at a ropes course. Having two different locations proved challenging, as unlike the other students, Christina was not able to return to the first day's spot with a fresh perspective and suggestions from the critiques the night before. Christina rolled with it, like she does everything with such carefree flexibility, and impressed us all with her take.

Christina's thoughts:
Upon returning from Roots I was speechless, unable to find the words to describe what an amazing experience it was for me and unable to describe what made Roots so special. Yet, I managed to talk more than ever about every little detail, the knowledge, all the people and the friendships I gained. Somehow, I think I managed to show my family and friends what a life changing experience I had without even trying. It was more than the place, the people, the education and the experience. Whoever said “this place is magical” could not have said it better. Roots left me with such a feeling of fullness and a hunger to learn that it was difficult to leave.

The best part of Roots was not only the one on one attention from the team leaders and mentors, but for me, being the least experienced photographer of the group, it was the patience and willingness to teach me even the most basic of concepts that I felt made the experience so unique and special. I often felt like I did not know as much as the other students, but I never felt that this was a problem, nor did I feel like I was looked down upon because of this. Instead, each team leader and mentor took extra time to help me understand, and the assignments were refocused to fit my needs.

Still I managed to take in and learn from what the more experienced photographers were being taught. The group critiques were key in making this happen. I was not prepared for the harsh reality of handing over my images in their entirety to the team leader. Going through each image in front of the whole group was intimidating, but it was during these critiques, both my own and the other student’s critiques, that I learned the most. These critiques were one of the hardest, but also one of the best parts of Roots. It was the things said late at night while we all desperately tried to stay awake and soak in all that was said, that will stay with me. Tyler’s voice still rings in my head when my camera is in hand…”snap to grid.”

I am so thankful that I was able to participate in Roots. I feel fortunate to have been taught and mentored by such talented and accomplished photographers and people. I would recommend this experience to anyone.

What an awesome recap from someone I truly adore and admire. I've loved Christina since the moment she stepped foot in my studio more than a year ago and have no idea how emilie inc functioned without her previously! I am so happy I had the chance to introduce her to the Roots staff, my core of industry friends who also receive the adoration status. Very proud of you, Christina!!

View her slideshow below and again, special thanks to sponsor Triple Scoop Music for the tune.

Roots Workshop: Christina Wnek at Barnstable County Youth Academy from emilie sommer on Vimeo.

And that wraps the student portfolio recaps! Many thanks again to the staff and students for sharing their thoughts and giving of themselves to such a rich, heartfelt learning experience. Christina said, Can we just stay there all year?! I so wish!


  1. You saved the best for last!
    Christina you rock!

  2. These are amazing photos Christina!! Great Job - love the series.

  3. You are one talented lady, Christina! :)

  4. Again Christina.... you totally rocked this! I cant tell you enough how incredibly proud of you I am for taking that leap of faith. These pictures prove you cannot call yourself an amateur anymore ;)


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