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Students explore creativity through the lens of a camera

Photo by Josiah Coulter

Recently, there has been a surge of students at Merrillville High School who have found a passion for photography. Throughout the halls, one can see students carrying their camera around, hoping to run into the perfect photo op.

Noah Molenda on the sidelines of the football field.

Senior Noah Molenda’s passion for photography sparked a few years ago.

“A couple summers ago, I got this old digital camera that I brought with me basically everywhere I went, and I realized that I kind of enjoyed it. Then this previous summer, I invested and bought a more expensive, more professional camera and just started experimenting with that, and I really liked it,” Molenda said.

From there, he started his very own photography business about three months ago. Though he prefers to mainly take photos of sports, he will not decline the opportunity to take photos for other events when asked. He has taken photos for events like birthday parties. His favorite event he has worked so far was a graduation party.

“Probably the graduation party because it was my Godsister’s, so I was with my family, and I got to do what I love,” Molenda said.

Sophomore Josiah Coulter gained an interest in photography from Instagram and started to accumulate more experience through his church, where he started to work with people who have had real-life experience in the photography field, soon landing him an internship. At his internship, he made a short film.

“The short film was about the small things that make you happy in life. The movie started out in black and white, and there’d be these small things that would be in color that would visibly bring our character to joy. Slowly throughout the movie, there’d be more things that would be in color until he meets this girl, and then they go on a date, and then at the end of the movie, everything goes into color as he’s talking and meeting with her,” Coulter said.

Junior Alyssa Salley has had an interest in photography ever since she was just eight years old; she believes that photography is all about capturing moments.

“I enjoy capturing the memories and the fact that one picture can have so much,” Salley said.

Majority of the students are hoping to better their abilities so that they can have careers in photography.

According to the photography and 2D art teacher, Mrs. Janet Anderson, there are various jobs available to those who are interested in photography, such as taking photos for food advertisements, film production, fashion, pets, sports, and more.

As of now, Salley sees photography as something she does just for fun, though she plans to take it more seriously in the future in order to go to college for visual communications.

“After college, I plan on going into design, such as user interface, while remaining photography as my main focus,” Salley said.

Coulter hopes to be a cinematographer and videographer, so that he can work in the TV field by filming commercials for big companies.

“I am inspired by the way photography is able to spread media and how it tells a story,” Coulter said.

After graduation, Molenda plans on going to college for digital media so that he can become a sports photographer for a professional team. Molenda has been gaining notoriety around school for his photos of the school’s sports teams.

“At first, I felt like I was in the way, and I don’t know, it was kind of awkward at first, but just the more I keep doing it, the more I feel comfortable and sort of professional sometimes. Even though I’m still in high school, it feels kind of professional,” Molenda said.

Each photographer started small and had their stepping stones in order to get where they are now.

“Seeing my work get better and better every week. Getting more attention from it—more compliments, just people seeing my work keeps me going,” Molenda said.

Mrs. Anderson has some advice for any students who are interested in and would like to immerse themselves in photography.

Get a good digital camera, not one in a cell phone. Take a class, research how to take pictures and what makes a great photo. Take pictures everyday that tell a story or capture your imagination,” Mrs. Anderson said.

For any students who would like to learn more about photography and how to improve their skills, her class would be very beneficial.

“In photography class, the students are learning what is a good photograph and to look at their world through the single lens of a camera,” she said.

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