May is National Photography Month: a time for celebrating photographers and their beautiful works of art that are found in every aspect of life.
As National Photography Month comes to a close, professionals and Ohio University students alike reflect on their photography careers, how the pandemic has impacted their work and why everyone should celebrate photography.
For Abigail Dean, a senior studying photojournalism, photography is her main outlet for understanding life.
“Photography allows me to share the way I see the world with those around me,” Dean said in an email. “It allows me new opportunities and experiences and helps me learn about people who are different than I am. I am able to explore different communities and grow as a person because of it.”
Dean enjoys taking photos of action and capturing special moments, as she focuses on sports photography. Dean has struggled to adapt her photography with a lack of sporting events and general action. As a result of the pandemic, she lost internship opportunities and interviews were canceled or postponed. She worries about her safety and the safety of those around her when taking photography assignments.
On the brighter side, the pandemic has forced Dean to think outside of the box. Due to limited resources, she hasn’t been working on anything specifically, but she just finished a video for a multimedia class she’s taking that she’s really proud of.
Also focusing on the bright side is Leanna Siupinys, a senior studying visual communication: commercial photography.
Siupinys has always been creative, but she started using photography as an outlet in middle school and has loved it ever since. She mostly focuses on creating fashion and portrait images, where she especially loves to work with models for the empowering collaboration.
Though the pandemic has posed a personal loss for Siupinys, like her internship in New York City, she knows she’s not the only one impacted. That’s why she focuses on the bright side: her ample time to further create and build her portfolio.
“I’ve really been focusing on trying to find different ways to stay creative while inside the house,” Siupinys said in an email. “I have produced many photoshoots from my own home by using my sister as a model or strengthening my still-life portfolio by photographing food and products I find around the house. My ability to adapt and think outside the box has definitely been improved in the past couple of months.”
Photography has been a great outlet for her during this time because she feels that when she has a camera in her hands, there’s nothing else her brain is focused on besides enjoying her time. She loves using photography to express her creativity and create new and meaningful connections with people and places.
Professional photographers, like Harry Acosta, have also been using the pandemic to their advantage.
Acosta has been a photographer for about 12 years and loves to focus on photographing people. He has his own studio in Columbus.
“I love photographing people at their best,” Acosta said. “Weddings or events are so much fun when they have no idea that I’m there — when they don’t recognize it as just a camera there, and they’re just enjoying the best day, interacting with each other and engaging with each other and they don’t even know that I’m there — I find that to be the most fun.”
Throughout the pandemic, Acosta has been making the best with what he has. He’s been working on a creative project that is themed around destruction. There aren’t any people involved; instead, Acosta utilizes popular phrases and simplistic photography.
Also during the quarantine, Acosta won a grant by Greater Columbus Arts Council in collaboration with PromoWest Productions for the Columbus Makes Art exhibition. His photo of Jessica Minshall will be displayed on the south side of the A&R Music Bar in the Arena District.
Dean, Siupinys and Acosta all agree that photography is for everyone, therefore everyone should celebrate it. It doesn’t require fancy equipment or professional experience, it’s just about capturing what you love.
“Photos are a great way to capture moments you want to remember and to share stories,” Dean said in an email. “I think they're an incredible tool and something that most people use everyday.”
These photographers also feel that even if you aren’t interested in photography yourself, you should do what you can to support your friends and even strangers who pursue photography because of its importance.
“If you have no interest in photography, celebrate your photo-friends this month,” Siupinys said in an email. “There are so many ways to support them: follow and interact with them on social media, spread the word about their photography business, buy their prints or book a photoshoot. We appreciate your support in every and any way.”