Junior Aashka Garg is a prominent photographer here at Cupertino High School. Garg describes that her passion being fueled at an early age by her family friend, Niyal, and how he really grew and inspired her passion for photography. Tragically, Niyal passed away in a car crash at the age of 17 and Garg felt only further the need to carry on his legacy.
Said Garg, “After he passed away I kinda felt like I wanted to carry on his legacy and show him what I could do. And that kinda inspired me, and he really did teach me a lot before he passed away, and that’s one of the major reasons I’m into photography.”
Niyal’s teachings also lead Garg to adopt her main type of photo, portraits. Garg also feels that Niyal’s legacy pushes her every day to make time for her photography passion, and simultaneously balance her academic work.
“Niyal, he has really encouraged me to continue this passion of photography because he was a junior and his year he had AP testing and all of that but he kept on going, and his passion really grew and I want mine to grow even more,” said Garg.
Her business, Garg Photography, has put more on her plate, as well as a platform to post her pictures. Photos, Garg describes, have become an essential part of today’s society, in her opinion, as more and more social media platforms pop up.
Said Garg, “And I think that it’s really cool how sharing pictures of yourself has become such a big part of today’s world because you kind of with pictures have the power to portray yourself a little differently than you are in real life and I think that the idea of portraying yourself as someone who is better or has fewer flaws that maybe you do in real life is really unique.”
And although she knows that a career in photography would be difficult to bring in a stable income, Garg still has plans to keep photography as a potential career but also major in something more academic.
Said Garg, “I’m not ready to give [photography] away but also I understand that it is hard to sustain yourself with that.”
“Photography is a method used to let go of [bad] feelings or also just take pictures of what I’m feeling,” said junior Fausto Espitia describing his attraction to photography.
Espitia is one of the many student photographers at Cupertino High School who is dedicated to their passion and has stuck with it throughout high school. He describes his interest in photography as having stemmed from his father during his childhood.
“He inspired me because at all family events he always took pictures and he always taught me something new every day,” said Espitia.
Like many photographers, Espitia also has a specific type of photo he likes to take on a regular basis, this being portraits. He also enjoys taking candids as they capture people in their most vulnerable states as well as taking photos of landscapes and symmetrical items.
Through photography, Espitia has had the opportunity to connect with others. One of these situations, when Espitia had the chance to meet new people through his hobby, occurred when taking photos in New York outside of a tattoo shop during a trip.
Said Espitia, describing his connection to the owner, “It was really funny and it was a new experience and I even talked to him a few days ago because I found his Instagram.”
Espitia’s feels that he himself has evolved as a person through photography.
“It [photography] has changed me, it’s made me a more open person because I’ve gotten to shoot with people I don’t really know and this has really help me build my social skills and being able to talk to new people,” said Espitia.
He also feels that photography will become a potential future career, and if not, he will still invest plenty of time into his passion.
Said Espitia, “Even currently I’m making money off of photography, and I hope that I will be able to continue this.”
Almost everyone has a staple item - something essential that they never leave the house without. For some, it might be a journal; for others, it might be a phone. For Senior Rikesh Mehta, it is his camera, which he almost always carries with him in case the opportunity to snap a photo crosses his path.
Mehta got into photography when he was in 7th grade and has been captivated by it ever since. He describes his photos as a unique way to tell stories. Mehta notes that his photography not only allows him to show people new perspectives of the world, but it has also changed his own perspective of the world and him as a person.
“[Photography has] allowed me to slow down and experience things. It’s taught me that sometimes, you enjoy things more when you take them slow,” said Mehta.
Through photography, Mehta has also been able to experience new and unique things. Last year, on December 31st, he drove out to Yosemite National Park to take photos of the sunrise of the new year. Upon arrival, he and his friend spotted a frozen spring, and since they wanted to take photos of things on the other side of the spring, he decided to attempt to jump over it.
Remembering the experience, Mehta said, “I started taking off my shoes and jacket, and a crowd of people had amassed. So I’m running full speed, I go for the jump, and I end up falling right into the middle of the river. Everyone started laughing and I felt alive for a second.”
Some other places Mehta has taken photos at include Santa Cruz, Vancouver, Russia, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Mehta notes that although photography is lots of fun, it also comes with many difficulties, which include lighting and editing challenges, as well as pressure from society.
Said Mehta, “Pressure from society and family to go into a STEM field [is a big challenge]. For example, do you want to spend hours [taking photos] when you could be [coding]?”
Despite these challenges, Mehta still hopes to pursue his passion for photography in the future and the years to come.