Sage Amdahl
Asst. Photos Editor

Emerson Little with a Whittier College mask.As a graduating senior at our beloved Whittier College, Emerson Little has proven his grit and praise-worthy work ethic on a number of occasions — plenty of which while working for the Quaker Campus, where he holds the position of Photos Editor. Even though Little grew up in Fullerton, he was born in Whittier, and had a sweet connection to Whittier College through his grandmother, who, Little reflected, drove by the campus when he was a baby and said to herself, “That’d be a good place for Emerson to go one day.” He added, “Now, here I am, graduating from Whittier; it’s a really weird coincidence.” This odd little familial connection to Whittier College just goes to show how lucky we have been to have had Little as a student and member of the community for the past four years, when his talents could have led him to any number of places.

Little is a self-described “quiet media nerd” with a life-long passion for photography, cinematography, and storytelling across all media forms. He particularly loves to immerse himself in dark fantasy, science fiction, and psychological horror: “I really believe that you can make anything as long as you put your mind to it and be authentic, actually believe in what stories you’re trying to tell and art you’re trying to make because, if you care, I’m sure the people reading or watching the stuff you’re making will care, too.”

A poster of Emerson Little's self-produced short film, In Another Place.Little’s major is self-designed through the Whittier Scholars Program and combines photography, film production, and graphic design to form Digital Media Production. While pursuing his unique major, Little’s classroom experiences have left a lasting impact on him, two such courses being Professor Brody’s Graphic Design III and Digital Illustration classes. He found the two to be very rewarding experiences for different reasons: “I really loved Graphic Design III because it was like being part of a small community of artists, and I enjoyed every moment of it, especially learning how the silk screen printing process worked and how brand identities developed. Brody’s Digital Illustration class was an interesting one, too because, even though it was virtual, the class gave me a chance to experiment with a different side of Photoshop that I hadn’t tried out before. [ . . . ] Overall, I really enjoyed making science fiction concept art and seeing what illustrations other people in the class were making. That class really encouraged me to push myself and keep making, even in the middle of the pandemic.”

Emerson Little at Whittier College.

On top of completing the intense workload of a full-time student, Little has also spent the last several years collaborating with the Fullerton Observer, his hometown’s local newspaper, to produce a video column every two weeks. His work for the Fullerton Observer left Little well-prepared to join the Quaker Campus ranks as the Head Photos Editor. He has now been a part of the QC community for the past three years, of which he said, “two of those years with the best co-photos editor I could’ve ever worked with, David Moreno, and one of those years virtually with one of the most talented digital illustrators I’ve seen in a long time, Sage Amdahl.” Before joining the Quaker Campus, Little had originally worked as a student photographer for the Whittier College Office of Communications, but wished to engage with the college community on a more personal level as a student. This, and his desire to publish his photography publicly as a photojournalist, are what ultimately brought him to the Quaker Campus, and we are lucky to have had him. As for his experiences with the QC, Little believes all of the inevitable frustrations were well worth it.

“Despite how challenging and frustrating those long Wednesday production nights were, this job has given me some of the best moments of my college career. After I arrived as Photos Editor, I wanted to make sure we featured as many student photos and artwork as possible and was proud to have one of my campus photos featured on the cover of the 2018 QC Orientation issue,” Little said. “However, one of my favorite moments was when I was asked to take profiles of each of the QC section editors for the 2019 Orientation issue. I’ve always photographed landscapes and taken strange black-and-white images for literary magazines, but, before that assignment for the QC, I’d never really been comfortable photographing people, so I was happy to step out of my comfort zone and photograph profiles of the talented section heads at their favorite spots around campus.”


Emerson Little taking a picture of his reflection.

As Photos Editor, Little put in the effort to produce the best quality newspaper he could. Pre-pandemic, he made sure to remodel the newspaper so as to no longer run outlined text over cover photos for print copies. He also learned to adjust his workflow and improve his usage of Adobe products, such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop — key design tools for photo editing. When the Quaker Campus was forced to publish digitally with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Little was also able to put a previous plan for publishing an online photo gallery in motion, providing a space for student photographers and artists to publish their work.

Following his graduation this Spring, Little plans to attend graduate school and work towards his Master’s degree with the hopes of teaching photography and film at the college level. Even as he moves on to greater work, his impact on the QC and the Whittier College community will not fade away.

Featured Image: Emerson Little / Quaker Campus

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