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My journey as a photographer began a mere ten months ago. This being my first year to pick up a camera, I was not expecting such a passion to grow within me. However, the more I study this art, the deeper I fall in love with creating and capturing special moments in the world around me.

Some high school students strive to be the star football player, or captain of the cheer squad. Photojournalism is my sport. It keeps me on my toes, forces me to constantly look over my shoulder for a new angle, and provides me with a team who aspires to reach the same goal.

Growing up, I always worked independently, never sharing the load with anyone. The atmosphere that being in a team creates is electrifying and encouraging; their energy is inspiring.

Outside of the journalism lab, I have been trained to always be professional with whoever I encounter. My reputation not only reflects who I am as a photojournalist, but as an individual. How I conduct myself when interviewing and shooting a business professional, city representative, or even random stranger can be the defining point in my networking.

As a photojournalist, I’ve learned that we are never really “off duty”. This team does not clock out at the end of the school day. The night of homecoming, we worked until the last point was scored and immediately ran up to the lab until the wee hours of the morning, processing photos, creating slideshows, and posting articles. Although it was one of the most stressful events I have ever covered, it was simultaneously one of the most rewarding nights of my high school career.

Three months into the school year, I was assigned my first big community event, the Clovis Fest, with Timothy Nyberg, ’16, and Jayden Ventura, ’18. Despite my insecurities about my skill level at the time, my advisor, Kori Friesen, was confident in my abilities. It was at that event when I learned how to step out of my comfort zone in order to produce the best shots possible. I was also nicknamed “the grinder” for staying multiple hours after school, perfecting every photo, probably to a fault.

One of the most valuable lessons Friesen taught me was to always be proactive and prepared. Whether I was shooting the Pelco 9/11 memorial service, or capturing the rags and riches of the streets of Los Angeles, it was crucial to do research beforehand, as well as have images already formed in my imagination of what I knew I wanted to produce.

The foresight and perspective I have acquired from viewing life through the eye of a lens has proven to be priceless. In my mind, photography and painting run parallel; both begin with a blank canvas. It is my job as the artist to evoke an emotion out of a delicately and purposefully composed image. This is what makes understanding the power of observation and perspective so essential.

I will be taking everything I have learned from FC with me to Phoenix, Arizona this fall. While attending Grand Canyon University, I plan to work towards my Bachelors of Arts in Advertising And Public Relations With An Emphasis in Digital Design.

My one regret leaving FCS is that I didn’t join photojournalism earlier in my high school career. I have been blessed beyond measure by this program and its advisors, who I am lucky enough to call my mentors and friends.

To all aspiring photojournalists: I want to encourage you to always compose each image as if it were your last opportunity. There will never come a day when you have reached your full capacity or potential, so never stop working on your craft. Always be looking for new a inspiration, angle, and story.

Reflection gallery below is a collection of images showing growth throughout this year.

For more Feather photos, visit media, photos 2015-16.

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