Pursuing photography, despite the criticism

The first time I went to talk to a Hancock staff member about college was junior year.  In my mind, I had everything planned out. I had a career and colleges in mind. The staff member then asked me what my plans were after I graduated from high school.  I told her that I want to become a professional photographer, and I had many colleges in mind, one being Columbia College Chicago.

The look on her face said it all – she looked at me in disbelief.  It seemed as if she was shocked about the goals that I had set and thought that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish them. She immediately said to begin looking at other career options, and that art was a bad major to pursue.  Although she has never seen my work, she made me feel discouraged and feel I would never become a professional photographer.

Even if this staff member, didn’t believe that I could achieve my goal, I would always have the support of my family. When I was about seven years old, my grandpa told me that the sensor lights in the backyard were his camera. Being young and still not knowing any better, I believed him. I believed that every time I walked by, the lights would be take pictures of us. I remember telling my mom that I wanted a camera exactly like that; of course she just smiled, and said maybe one day.

As I got older I would constantly look through family albums, and I realized that I wanted to help people capture the moments that make them smile. My sister would always take me to wrestling events, and of course I would take pictures. When I got them developed, I realized that they looked like the pictures in WWE Magazine.

A picture captures the moments that we can’t put into words.  It captures a memory that we never want to forget. When my grandpa, whom I was very close to, passed away, I realized that I was one of the few grandchildren that actually had a picture with my grandpa. This is a moment that I will cherish forever. When I saw the picture of my grandpa and me, it made me realize how important it is to capture the moments that we are not able to relive.

A photograph, a caption of time, allows us to remember the moments that we don’t want to forget. There have been occasions where I have had the opportunity to capture such moments. One of these many occasions was when I took my sister’s engagement pictures. I was able to capture the true happiness and love of their relationship. I would like to be able to show my photographs to the world and allow them to speak for themselves.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. I want to have the opportunity to become a professional photographer, so that I can make an impact on someone’s life with my photos. I want to be able to change someone’s perspective through art.

Although many people have tried to discourage me about becoming a photographer, I have learned to embrace my passion and ignore their negative comments.  I am determined to go against the odds in order to prove to myself and others that I can become a professional photographer. I have my goals set, and nobody’s negative comments will change my perspective about my passion for photography. One day, my photographs will make history.

By Veronica Guzman, a 2011 graduate of Hancock College Prep and a photography major at Columbia College Chicago

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