From Blair Waldorf to Rory Gilmore, many legendary characters once roamed the gothic corridors of Yale University. Admission reps must be hustling in the fictitious world because turns out, every book and TV teen in the land wants to go to Yale. Perhaps shaping a path towards New Haven, Connecticut is an author’s way of incorporating themes of rebirth and awakening. Maybe they want to level up their aesthetics game? It could also be the simple truth that a book can’t be considered a book unless you spend a full chapter describing nature and architecture? Whatever the reason, here lies a list of the most #instaworthy photo spots to capture your inner literary personality.
Straight from the Yale photographer’s lens:
1. The Nick Carraway
Romanticized misty nights, extravagant buildings and certain bright lights remind you of a past love named Jay. Or, as everyone else knows him as, Gatsby. Where should such a person as yourself go to capture the perfect portrait? Look no further than Branford College — the most popular and highly acknowledged photo spot by Yalies everywhere… perhaps even too popular for penchant. “That’s funny because they tell us the same thing as student photographers, stop taking photos there, we need other colleges too” Yale 2020 graduate and campus photographer Nune Garipian said. Hence, if you have that brooding literary buff aesthetic about you and consider The Great Gatsby your favorite novel, this photo spot calls out your name.
2. “I’m the best of the best. I’m Blair Waldorf”
You’ve Got Yale! Congratulations on your acceptance to one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. But if anything like Blair Waldorf, you can’t call it official until everyone around you knows about it. A domineering, loyal and absolute icon like yourself would benefit from heading towards Old Campus for a portrait. Perspective design works great for this area. “Especially during the Spring, the flowers are blooming and it’s great to kind of dig yourself behind them to get that make-shift floral border,” Yale senior and campus photographer Jack Devlin said. “Actually, every year due to generous donations, the school adds new plants to the garden, so by grad season, it’s truly a beautiful time.” Jack took a gap year this academic season, but make sure to reach out to him Fall 2021 to book a captivating photo session!
3. The Editor of the Yale Daily News
So you want to be the next Christiane Amanpour? Ok, Rory Gilmore. In that case, you need 1) a place to do research and 2) a professional headshot. You can find your answer to both of these urgencies at Lillian Goldman Law Library. The tempered glass windows in the scene pictured above will especially put you in the right mindset and under the best lighting. Climb up to the higher levels of the library to get better pictures since that is where natural sunlight can refract through the glass. “It’s concrete, has cool tone vibes and is great for getting a Business-y look” Yale 2020 graduate Nune Garipian said. It might not be the perfect shady tree that fits the curve of your body, but all things considered, this Yale law library window seat might also be your new favorite reading corner.
4. Splendor in the Grass
Color composition flex! Trumbull College, especially during the Fall, gives a photographer the option to play around with the concept of motion photography. Falling leaves work as a great element – whether they fall freely off a branch or get tossed in the air before the flash goes off! While freshmen usually live near this scene and location, seniors go back to take pictures here because it signifies how much time has passed since freshman year. The picturesque vibrancy of the trees, as well as the exposure of warm tones, surely creates a timeless earthy image. A splendid location like this could also be the place where a pizza waitress and oil scion fall in love. Who knows?
5. Most Likely to Leave Their Alma Mater Fifty Million Dollars
Can I have your attention please? Can the liberal arts students please stand up? I repeat: can the liberal arts students please stand up? Because you’re going to want to grab your materials and head to Maya Lin Women’s Table. While quiet spaces tend to be more attractive to STEM majors, outdoor scenic locations play to the minds of liberal arts students seeking inspiration. At Maya Lin, you can get your artsy vibe on. Using the water to capture reflections creates a fancy result that bellows “Look out world, I’m going places.” “I know it’s weird seeing photographers go to such lengths to take photos but at Maya Lin, it’s hard not to go all out,” Yale alum Kat Lin said. Posting a photo like this also sets you up with the opportunity to get away with captioning something about the duality of man, while not seeming totally douchey.
6. Yale Man Ishmael
As you cross into new paths and live out your “coming-of-age” movie at Yale, no better metaphorical setting exists than the walkway pictured above — otherwise known as Hillhouse Bridge. A discrete location that used to be an alley for cars to go through has now recently been renovated into a nice walkway. “If you place your [subject] in the front, the background has trees on the side and wooden ventures, and it gives you a pretty perspective,” Yale junior and photographer Sydney Holmes said. Close to the library with beautiful scenery, this location provides the person behind the lens the cool opportunity to be creative.
7. Holy Smokes, Batman!
Unless you’re Bruce Wayne, accepting the role at an ivy league can present a heavy burden on undergraduates to stand out. And since Yalies probably don’t need help academically, consider this excellent photo spot an opportunity to help your confidence shine. Yes, I’m talking about the beaming glass-covered exterior of the Yale School of Management. Nothing says power pose quite like showing off your “I mean business” side.
This building on campus doubles as the most modern and “Linkedin” appropriate location to go to. Unlike most of the locations provided above, this area sits on concrete instead of grass. So you can definitely bring your high heels or slick oxfords. Getting a photo result like this distinguishes you as a force to reckon with. Goes to show, not all heroes wear capes.
8. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Debt
The concept of the next great American novel might as well be orchestrated upon the likes of this armchair. And while there, you should probably take a few photos too. Sterling Memorial Library, nicknamed “Stacks,” sits filled with floors and floors of books and long rows of high shelves. You can find this particular spot in the upper levels of the library. “The minuscule level of light brought on by the arched windows is the perfect amount to capture some strong shadowy photographs,” Yale graduate student Monte Karapetian said. From aspiring professors to students who took archaeology as a G.E. class, this photo spot allows you to live out your Indiana Jones fantasies.
9. The Bell Jar
A library usually creates a tranquil space for the scholar – free of distraction. However, if I sat underneath these high ceilings and glimmering stories yet to be discovered, I would probably contemplate my own identity for hours. Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has no windows because the walls are made of translucent marble panels that can let light in while keeping the books protected from the sun. But who will protect you from the numbing level of beauty? Beinecke poses as an elegant photo spot – visually reminiscent of Sylvia Plath’s dreamy tone in The Bell Jar. With all that analogous energy in mind, you’ll likely leave Beinecke with a clear image.
10. The Suite Life of Ivy League
When you think of New Haven, your mind probably leans towards images of gothic landscapes and old traditional interiors. Well, not all of Yale succumbs to tradition. CIED Café lives by the business school and manifests a modern twist of space — the featuring of a huge LED screen. Admittedly, most photographers won’t recommend spending too much time at the CIED center. Even the photographer himself, Jack Delvin, spoke to the difficulty in getting this psychedelic shot. However, it seems like that one magic click was well worth the effort. “If you really wanted to, you could make any Yale spot look nice” Yale 2020 graduate Nune Garipian said. There seems to be quite a debate among Yalies whether this spot is worth it. I suppose it is up to the eye of the beholder. Do you accept the challenge?
Now you know all the gorgeous spots Yale has to offer to professional and amateur photographers looking to capture that perfect aesthetic shot. However, if you still need help bringing your visions to life, you can reach out to all of these Yale photographers by clicking on their featured photo spots above! Happy Instagram-ing.