A passion for photography

Managing Editor Sophie Fernandes takes a photo in her neighborhood. Fernandes has come to use photography as a means of self expression and bettering her community. “I want to help improve people’s lives, and I see my ability to document those lives with compassion and acuity of vision as an invaluable asset,” Fernandes said. Photo by Zoe Peterson.

By SOPHIE FERNANDES – Print Managing Editor

Managing Editor Sophie Fernandes has learned to see life through a lens after finding a passion for photojournalism.

Growing up I had many hobbies — dance, trapeze, piano, viola and soccer. In my home, I was surrounded by people with talent. My mom is a dancer, my dad a musician, and my younger brother, an artist.

I aspired to be like them. I wanted to be able to say that I was talented at something. I felt a piece of my identity was missing and I longed to find my gift.

During my sophomore year, I joined my school’s newsmagazine, the ODYSSEY. Writing was an academic strength of mine. I enjoyed it, but I was also interested in pursuing photography.

Once I got behind the camera lens, I knew I found my passion. The camera taught me to perceive the world differently. I began observing my surroundings more closely, noticing key details, and within weeks I found myself composing potential images and arranging “shots” in my mind.

I felt very comfortable taking photos of people and asking the right questions to take genuine photos that reflected the subject accurately.

However, as a beginner, I had a lot to learn. I listened to the constructive criticism from my teacher and peers within the ODYSSEY program and made a conscious effort to improve my technical skills.

I researched online and read many books to learn more about lighting and the core elements of photographic composition such as depth of field, lines and patterns. I also read biographies of inspiring photographers, such as my favorite, Annie Leibovitz.

Recently, I went to India, the birthplace of my grandfather. I took many photos and interviewed people there with ease and confidence.

Documenting the people and culture of this country solidified my decision to pursue journalism in college. I want to help improve people’s lives, and I see my ability to document those lives with compassion and acuity of vision as an invaluable asset.

As a young woman who sought her talent for many years, I can say that photojournalism has changed the way I view myself, my competency and my artistic expression.

I am one child out of six siblings. I am one student out of a school of 1500. I am one human, amongst millions of others, who is dedicated to improving more and more as an artist of photojournalism and as a citizen of the world who believes that words and pictures can enrich humanity.

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