Student Spotlight Questionnaire

When and how did you first become interested in photography?

I was introduced to photography my freshman year in high school. My counselor at the time encouraged me to take a photography class. I wasn’t sure about it, but I gave it a try. I am thankful I did. I loved it! The fact that you as a photographer is able to capture an image of a different variety of emotions was truly interesting and amazing to me. Since then I was hooked!

Who has been the most influential on your work? (Instructor, friend, famous photographer, etc). Explain.

In high school my photographs weren’t so great. I remember taking a bunch of images of flowers, cars, and my little brother. In high school my photography teacher encouraged me to photograph each day. He would say “practice makes perfect!” Unfortunately, I couldn’t always photograph. My parents didn’t have the money to provide me with all the sources that were required to make the final prints.

It wasn’t until last year (fall semester 2016) at the age of 32 when I decided to pursue my life time dream here at Cypress College. I dived in hoping for the best and enrolled in Photo 101 with Jackie Lovato. She provided me with such an amazing experience. I was encouraged to photograph every chance I would get. Some of Mrs. Lovato’s words of wisdom were: “make moments”, “create yourself”, and “make portraits.” That is exactly what I have decided to put into practice with my work.

But the person that has made a tremendous impact in my life was my current instructor Mr. Clifford Lester! He has made me seen the field of photography in a whole DIFFERENT way. He has always believed that I could turn in amazing work, when I didn’t believe in myself. I am glad that I was able to have that, because not a lot of people close to me believed in me.

Another person who has been so influential in my work is Terah Williams. What would I have done without her?! She is a great person all around. She was always available to help me out, never did she say no to me. When I was stressed out, and didn’t know what to do with an image, she always gave me positive feedback. She was always there by my side teaching me, coaching me, and guiding me. I am so grateful for all her wonderful help, because I feel if it wasn’t for her guidance I would have given up on myself, but because I had people who believed in me I gave it my all.

What is your favorite subject to photograph? Least favorite?

So far, everything is my favorite. I am a beginner in this field, and I am enjoying everything that I am learning.

How has your work changed since becoming a student at the Cypress College Photography Department?

My work has definitely improved. I look at a photograph in a whole different way. Now, I make sure that the background is not too distracting, the light is working in the proper way. I make sure what I want in the image and what I don’t want, so on and so forth.

I plan to keep training my eye and become a better photographer.

What has been the most useful information you have learned since becoming a student here ?

Never give up on yourself. You will take more than 100 images and maybe one will be the perfect one. Work towards that perfection. Make an impact with the image you take.

What area of your photography do you wish was better?

An area of my photography that I wish was better is being more confident with my work. I am my worst critic and I feel at times that takes a big toll on me. I need to believe in myself just like my instructors believe in me.

Do you have a favorite photograph (well known or personal)? If yes, why do you enjoy it so much?

I have a personal photograph in black and white film. It’s a photograph of my mother in law visiting her late husband at the cemetery. I was able to capture her with such a strong and powerful emotion. She stood next to her husband grave, crying, her facial expression was like she was mad at the fact that he was gone, but hopeful that one day they would be together again. Even taking the picture of her brought tears to my eyes. The love she had for her husband was undeniably true love. To be able to have the opportunity to take such a powerful image was a good feeling to my soul.

What are your plans for the future in the photography world?

As of this moment I really don’t know where I want to take my career in the photography industry, but I do know that I won’t stop until achieve my goal. I will continue to gain more knowledge, and continue to take wonderful images.