Visual Communication Arts major Remi Cuomo ‘19, arrived at Franklin University Switzerland in August 2016 with the clear goal of becoming a Conflict Photojournalist. To anyone who knew Remi growing up, this made perfect sense. Even as a child, she was rarely seen without a camera in her hands. During her school years, historical events such as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left an impression upon her. In particular, she was disturbed by the limited number of images documenting what it was really like at that time. So, she made up her mind to travel the world, recording history as it was happening, through the eyes of the people living it. Ambition and raw artistic talent she already had. The only question was how to turn these natural gifts into a career.

“The field I decided to pursue is an extremely difficult field to get into due to many ethics that come behind it and the fact that jobs aren’t exactly advertised.” Remi remembers the uncertainty she felt, wondering if Franklin could provide her with everything she needed to fulfill her dream. Some of the courses included in her major didn’t seem to fit in with Remi’s plans, so she asked if she could make adjustments.

“With the support of Professor Johanna Fassl, I wrote a request outlining a broad spectrum of courses that would help me in my future career.” These changes included switching out a painting class and adding in courses like The Holocaust and Genocide with Professor Marcus Pyka and The Visual Culture of Disaster with Professor Fassl. By adapting her education to match her requirements, Remi was able to develop her writing style, improve her technical ability with the camera, and even gain experience in the field.

For her senior project, Remi traveled to Lebanon and worked directly with ACTED, a French NGO dedicated to providing relief to communities around the world during crises and then developing sustainable solutions, post-crisis. She says being in Lebanon “opened my eyes to so many things” and only fueled her desire to become a Conflict Photojournalist. Many might consider such a life to be too difficult, too uncomfortable, but not Remi.

“I strongly believe in documenting events in a non-biased way, to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions so they are not influenced by what someone else wants them to believe. For me, a camera… allows me to peer into my subjects’ perspectives… to be a lens for people to share their stories and get them out into the world through both the light and dark.”

On March 9, 2020, Remi will return to Lebanon to gain more experience in the field by documenting the revolution that is ongoing in the country. She hopes to attract the attention of international news outlets with her images and the stories they tell. She is ready, and has never been more certain that she made the right decisions in choosing her career and in attending FUS.

“Franklin is the reason that I feel comfortable and prepared for this next phase of my life, both in terms of knowledge acquired in my courses and outside while traveling around the world. Having the ability to work with the administration to alter the courses within the degree was amazing because it really portrays how Franklin works with students to succeed. Many of the projects, papers, and readings that were undergone during my time at Franklin have prepared me both for job applications and critical thinking within the field. If I hadn’t attended Franklin University, I wouldn’t have had the confidence and knowledge driving me towards Lebanon for my senior project and, if I hadn’t taken that chance, then I wouldn’t feel as driven to go back. Franklin opened up the door for me to fight for myself and what I want out of life.”

To follow the journey of Remi Cuomo, visit her website. Her Instagram handle is @remicuomo.