News Category: Arts & Poetry
An interview with a rising photography star
By Lucie, News Team Contributor
What if you were to stumble into the wrong orientation at a summer camp, for a subject that you know almost nothing about? What if while at that orientation, you discovered a passion you never knew you had? Meet Claudia O’Neill, a rising senior at Amador Valley High School. While at summer camp, she ended up in the orientation for a photography class, instead of a drawing class. As she said, she dropped drawing and never looked back. She described her love of photography by saying, “It gives me a different medium to express my ideas as a visual piece of art.” To learn more about photography and the advice she has for others, I asked her a few questions.
To read the interview, click here (insert link).
1. What types of classes have you taken to pursue photography?
I started photography by taking a digital photography class at a college in San Francisco in 2017. There, I learned how to use a digital camera manually, as well as how to edit photos. The next summer, I took that class, but also a 35mm film class. There, I took pictures with film, developed the film myself, and made pictures in a darkroom. At school, I took a photo 2 class, and in the summer of 2019, I went to a 4-week sleep-away pre-college program in LA. I went for painting and 35 mm photography. In my junior year of high school, I took AP photography.
2. What advice could you give to other students interested in photography?
The best advice I could give to other students studying photography is to keep shooting and to explore new things to shoot. You can’t get better if you never do the activity, and photography is the same. The more you do it, the better you’ll become, and you’ll also find what you like to shoot the most.
3. What types of photography do you do?
I started with manual digital photography, and the year after, I started 35mm black and white photography. 8 months after, I got my first roll of color film, which is now what I shoot with the most, but black and white film is a close second. I only shoot digital in portrait sessions when the subject requests digital.
4. Do you have an online portfolio or other platform where you display your work?
I have an Instagram account where I post my work sometimes, and I’ve been working on a website.
5. What programs or competitions have you participated in?
I took classes with the SFAI Young Artists Program two years in a row, and then I applied and got into CSSSA, or the California State Summer School for the Arts program, which is state funded and held at The California Institute of the Arts. There is a 30% acceptance rate overall, and I learned and experienced so much because of that program.
6. What resources are available to aspiring photographers?
There are many amazing art and photography programs in the Bay Area, most in San Francisco, and it’s easy to do research for what will fit your budget. Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to take a class. If you really want to take photos, then grab a camera and go take some photos! The Bay Area is extremely beautiful, so even if you can’t shoot your friends because of the pandemic, you could go on a nature walk and take some landscape shots. There are so many good videos online now if you want to learn more about your camera, and there are also many camera shops, darkrooms, film labs, and other photography outlets in the area.
7. Who are your favorite photographers?
Most of my favorite photographers are through Instagram. My absolute favorite photographer is Carianne, or @peggyshootsfilm on Instagram. Her photography is vintage feeling while photographing a diverse group, and giving the whole. I also love Michael, known as @fixedwithyou on Instagram, is another great artist. Another favorite is Brooke Olimpieri, or @filthymouthcreative on Instagram, whose photos have a vintage vibe with a twist of female empowerment, showing that women can be hot and strong.
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