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The Art of Observation: Student Photographers

Photo by Michael Quinto

Photo by Michael Quinto

Tessa Hughes

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In the day and age of smartphones — phones that can do everything: take pictures, go on the internet, insta-stalk people — it seems that every detail of real life can now be either documented or ruined by this invention. One major thing that has been changed since smartphones, or at least since the first camera phone, were introduced is the increase in individuals who believe they are photographers. Good lighting and an obscure object to photograph is all you need for an “artsy” shot, right? Wrong. Because of smartphones, a true photographer is hard to find, but two student photographers, juniors Cole Lederer and Michael Quinto share how they got into the field of authentic photography and where they wish to take this interest.

Many of these student photographers got their starts early on, such as in school photography classes. These classes have allowed them to further their learning in the art, as Quinto detailed.

“I took Photo in eighth grade, so I learned the technical part of it, and black and white photography. Now I’m in both photography classes here, Photo One and Advanced; from that, I know it all technically,” said Quinto.

After having learned and adapted their skills, certain photographer’s were left wanting to pursue this passion as a career. Lederer is one of these individuals: photography is what he truly loves, and he thinks it could be his future.

“As I’ve been taking pictures, I have always wondered if I could make it a profession. It is my passion, so I guess if I could, then I would. I’d want to either work for clothing brands or for a magazine,” said Lederer.

Lederer and Quinto aren’t alone. Junior Tatiana Barajas and senior Kevin Adams also share in this passion and share why they love photography, what they like to capture, and how they feel about smartphone photographers.

 

Michael Quinto

instagram: @michael.quinto
My dad was always into photography, so I played around with his stuff. I started just watching him do it — [but] I can do it better now. I’ve explored different parts of it that my dad never did — he did a lot of sports photography and nature stuff — and I’m doing more night photography stuff. I like night photography because you can do long exposure, and I’ve been experimenting with that for a while now. Long exposure is when the camera records for a longer amount of time, so it needs to be dark, which is why you do it at night time. That [also] means that any light source given will be recorded, so can draw [images] with a flashlight and it’ll record everything that you draw. [Photographing] people is always fun — taking pictures with your friends is fun because you can be goofy. Sometimes just going on a walk, that can be fun too, just taking pictures of nature. You can [also] take pretty good photos with a smartphone. It’s a good start — if you’re starting to see things through a photographer’s eye, it’s a good start using your phone to take snapshots.

 

 

Kevin Adams

instagram: @kevinadamsphotography
My dad has always done photography [and] he always enjoyed taking pictures. I got a camera [my] sophomore year; I liked going out and taking pictures for fun. Then I had a friend ask me to take her senior pictures for them, so I was like okay, and I found out it was a lot of fun. I decided to go ahead and start pursuing that. I like taking pictures of people, mostly, so I take pictures of that or landscapes, but mostly portraits. The vast majority of the pictures I take are on my phone, so I think there are a lot of things you can do on a camera that you can’t necessarily do on a phone, but I do think you can get really good, creative pictures on a phone. I started [making videos] back in fourth grade, because I really like making movies and I wanted to be a director. I [took] our family video camera and started taking videos, making movies, and all that, and then my girlfriend, Elizabeth Boaz, she’s a singer, so I make a lot of her videos. That’s another thing I like to do with my camera. I both like [photography and videography] pretty equally. A video can be a more difficult just because there are so many other factors [but] if I had to pick, I would just do photography.

 

Tatiana Barajas

instagram: @tatiana.b16

I got into photography two or three years ago. I started off using my phone camera, but then I got some type of Nikon. Now I have a good camera, it’s a Nikon D7-100. I prefer using a fancier camera because you can zoom in or change it from manual to automatic. With manual you can control how fast the picture is taking, the shutter speed, and the width of the aperture. You can manipulate it more than the iPhone.

The idea of capturing the moment was cool to me. I started taking pictures of stuff I was doing, then started to take more artistic styles of photography. Instead of just taking pictures of what’s happening, I would set them up. I looked at situations from a different angle or perspective. If I was looking at something cool, instead of just taking the picture standing up, I would lay down on the ground and take a picture from underneath.

 

Cole Lederer

instagram: @colelederer
I have been into photography for about a year and a half. Once I made an instagram account, I started taking pictures and the more I did it, the more I started to enjoy it, and that led me to where I am today.
I started off taking pictures with my phone and then it developed into me taking pictures with my uncle’s camera, then I saved up enough money for my own to use. Portrait photography excites me the most. I love taking pictures of people because you can get so much diversity and so many different angles. It never gets boring. To find my inspiration, I usually just go somewhere special to me, like San Francisco or the beach, and I’ll take friends; I usually just end up getting inspired by either seeing something or feeling a certain way. I’d say if you’re interested in photography, it’s okay to start out on your phone or even a not so great camera. It requires a creative mindset, not just fancy equipment. Try to find a certain style and figure out what kinds of photos get
you most excited. I think photography, especially on smartphones, has become so advanced now. You basically have the ability to take a picture on a phone and have it be as good as a camera, but it does take skill. I think more and more photographers are starting to see that phone photos can have legitimacy and that it is sort of becoming more of a different style of photography.

Interviews and photographer photos were taken by Ophelia Chiang, Skyler Genelly, Tessa Hughes, Sean Lopez, and Emma Pearson. Additional pictures were taken by the photographers themselves.

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The Art of Observation: Student Photographers