Photography gets me involved in events all over campus and the world. In fact, the reason I first got involved with The Poly is photography. I started out by taking photos of events around campus, like hockey, football, and Student Government meetings. Photography got me to go to the campus Holi celebration, where I foolishly attempted to remain unscathed by color (that didn’t last long). Last spring, I talked to many students, alumni, and faculty about why they were there and what they hoped to change at RPI, while I photographed the Spring Town Protest.
If I’m photographing with a group of other photographers, it’s interesting to compare our photos after the event and see what each of us chose to emphasize. Everyone has a slightly different perspective, and it informs the way we take our photos. When my dad and I take photos together, we can share our work and talk about what one of us saw that the other may have missed. We learn from each other, and our photos get better and better every year.
Of course, going out and taking photos is only half of the job. After I’ve taken my photographs, I can spend hours going through them, picking out the best ones, editing them, and eventually putting together a group of photos that represents and communicates what I experienced while I took them. I can share these photos with family—especially my mom—and friends who are curious about what I’m up to, and sometimes I print my favorites out and hang them up as a physical manifestation of a previous experience. Photography allows me to share experiences with people who might not be able to experience the same things as me.
One thing I always try to keep in mind is who I’m photographing for. If I’m covering an event for The Poly, I’ll be mindful of the perspective that my photos are giving our readers, and I’ll attempt to make sure that they present as unbiased and accurate a perspective as possible. Those photos need to be palatable and captivating to a wide audience. If I’m photographing for myself, I can try all sorts of weird things, like using an off-camera flash to freeze falling snow in the middle of a storm. It doesn’t matter to me what anyone else thinks about the photos I take for myself, because I just take them for my own benefit.
Overall, photography is a combination of art, technology, and adventure that few other hobbies can provide. Through it, I can have interesting conversations and experience different perspectives to refine my own opinions about the world. Photography, to me, is more than just a singular activity. It is a window to all sorts of other interactions, both anticipated and unexpected. It leads to meeting new people, trying new things, and experiencing the world through different perspectives.