Pictures are all around us. Almost as much as the words we read, pictures help to transcribe feeling and information into our brain, encoding it as shapes and colors rather than words and paragraphs, and those pictures ultimately come from one source: cameras. Sure, there are millions of types, but regardless of whether you’re shooting on an IPhone X or a Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII, cameras make the magic happen.
And photographers work the cameras.
Photographers, in a sense, have a massive job. No matter what they’re capturing, the person behind the camera has to convey a meaning, a purpose to their photo that gets across a message to whoever sees it. A man with a several-thousand-dollar camera working for a newspaper must tell a story when he photographs a football game for the news, and a student in math class has to capture the answers on the board with their phone. Regardless of level, or skill, photography is purpose without words.
At Leesville, that’s no different. A student taking pictures of the board might not mean much, but there are some that have made it their hobby— their passion, even— to photograph the world around them and share those photos, however they can. Leesville’s photographers consistently spotlight the things they photograph— whether it be bridges, buildings, or BMW’s— and it’s time to turn the spotlight on them.
For John Thornton, a senior at Leesville, photography wasn’t the beginning. Graphic design, he says, was his first passion, and when he eventually began taking pictures on his iPhone– and later his father’s Canon camera– the two melded effortlessly. “Over the pandemic, I started implementing my pictures into it; like, taking pictures and just seeing what I could do,” said Thornton.
Nature is his specialty, but in Thornton’s case, it can be so much more than that: with graphic design, the possibilities of one photograph are endless, and Thorton talks about how he enjoys the “freedom, to kinda compose any picture that I want.” That freedom is clear when he talks about his own work: “when I took a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, I put, like, a black hole above it, because I could!” It’s funny, but for Thornton, it’s a testament to his passion for expression. Photography itself is already near-illimitable, but he truly makes it his own by combining it with another medium.
Thornton might tell his own story with his pictures, but for senior Parker Silver, being behind the camera is about encapsulating the stories of things he cares about. His photography-centered Instagram account is filled with flicks of cars and landscapes, a vibrant love letter to the things he finds gorgeous.
Silver enjoys capturing the vehicles the most: “I love cars, but I can’t own every cool car I see; but I can take a quick picture of it, a couple photos here and there– and, y’know, plus, showing people the photos I get of their cars… makes them really happy,” said Silver. Sharing is part of the fun for him, and it’s usually one of the most gratifying parts of capturing images for any photographer; that, and the editing. Silver edits all his photos– a bit of color here, adding some warmth there– and even plays around with them; he mentions he’s working on some right now to look like he shot them on a film camera.
Photography started a bit interestly for Silver. When he suffered a concussion after being an avid skateboarder for years, he turned to his mother’s camera to stay connected to his skating community. “I started to really like it, and I think now it’s become almost more of a passion than skating has for me,” said Silver.
Finn Greer has a similar journey. Greer is a senior, and over the last year, borrowing his uncle’s camera and observing his friends has led to a love of the shutter button (“point lens at thing, click button,” he jokes).
Like Silver, he loves cars, and now– equipped with his own camera– he gets to observe them and develop his understanding of the science behind it all. For Greer, capturing the cars is more than just a good-looking vehicle; it’s often about capturing them in “different ways, and each one has many different styles that can be represented through photos.” Understanding that variety– the style and diversity of each subject– is an essential part of any photographer’s playbook, and regardless of whether someone is shooting a car or a person, there are countless ways to capture its uniqueness.
Like their pictures, each photographer is unique — different subjects, editing styles, and journeys lead to the wonderful variety that makes up the photography community. But at the end of the day, Leesville’s photography community all ended up agreeing on one thing: expression. The freedom to express is a freedom that all three photographers take advantage of, and the photos they produce because of it make Leesville just a little bit better.
Hi! My name is Brendan Shore and I am a staff writer for The Mycenaean. I am an avid photographer and rock climber!