By C. M. Bateman
Instagram. Snapchat. Tumblr. These are just a few examples of the various social media platforms popular with teenagers and young adults. Not only do these sites allow users to efficiently keep in touch with one another, but they are specifically geared toward sharing photos with one’s followers at the click of a button.
Needless to say, these social media networks have nurtured a sort of obsession in youth with their photos. Many have taken on the challenge of creating a color theme for their profiles, and others have used this obsession to dive deeper into their passion for capturing the perfect photo.
Photos really do hold power. Pictures preserve a memory, a moment in time that can be shared with others physically. Pictures have the power to make the beholder laugh, cry and everything else in between.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And no one believes this more than Stephanie Maples, a junior at Summit Tahoma.
Maples is known around campus as a talkative, studious teenager, with a passion in drama, volleyball and photography. She credits herself as a photographer of nine years, but she has more recently began, in the past three to four years, exploring the field of photography.
Her curiosity in the story behind a picture led to her fascination with photography, as well as the ability to create a permanent memory through a photo. Her main goal, which applies to all photos she takes, is to tell a story with her pictures and make people feel the same way she does when behind the camera.
Her inspiration stems from other photographers she knows in her life, such as her friend Morgan Brown, whose family is very involved in the field. She also finds inspiration in the pictures posted on the Instagram account @everchanginghorizon, an account run by Quin Schrock dedicated to photographing his experiences visiting the various places in the world. Maples looks up to him for the ability to “create a feeling through their pictures.” More photos taken by Schrock can be found at his website.
Among her favorite subjects to photograph are friends and nature. “I really enjoy photographing people,” Maples explained. “I also love doing scenery pictures as well because I feel like you can kind of capture the essence of what it feels like to be there and the beauty of the sight that you’re seeing, even if people can’t physically be there with you. And I also love event photography as well, like prom and senior pictures, because it’s a symbol of a special period of time in their life, especially with graduation pictures, because they embody their whole high school career and show the end of an era for those people.”
Maples finds time to take pictures no matter what the occasion is. She often goes out with friends to places like the beach, where she whips out her camera to take pictures of the scenery.
Maples owns a Canon Rebel t6i, a high quality camera with multiple lenses. A review of the camera can be found here. For basic photos, as well as portraits and scenery pictures, Maples uses a 15 mm F/2.8 lens. For events, where the focal point of her lens changes multiple times, an 18-55 mm F/3.8 lens is best.
Well- known for her skills as a photographer, Maples is often asked to perform certain duties around school to preserve memories made at Tahoma. She normally photographs club meetings or school rallies; she has even taken pictures for the members of the Advanced Modern Acting and Theatre Expeditions class for them to use as a professional headshots.
The community at Tahoma means a lot to Maples, and being able to exercise her passion of photography for the good of the community brings the best of both worlds together. “It’s been fun in the sense that I get to photograph things and people I love and the community of Summit I love. I even took pictures for the rally that we had a couple months ago and that was like, I was in my element; I loved doing that, just because we’re capturing the culture in the community of Summit… and how Summit works and who we are.”
When asked what motivates her to keep on taking photos, Maples describes how confident photography makes her feel, and her skills, which drives her to continue and pursue photography in her future. She explains, “When I’m taking photos, the rest of the world disappears and it’s just me and my camera, and it’s just ‘How do I get the shot that I want? How do I portray this the correct way?’ I think that’s what my motivation is, it’s really just something that I love doing.”
Maples aspires to be an event and portrait photographer and plans on applying to the Biola University photography program and one day owning her own business. Maples is aware of the social stigma surrounding the career of photographers. Earning a living wage is a difficult task, and many see photography as more of a hobby than a career. The Balance, a personal finance website, offers more information about the potential job paths and overall expectation of today’s photographers in society.
Despite this, Maples understands that “photography is a process to get your name out there and to get people to know who you are and know your photos. So how I will achieve [my dream], I think is just by being tenacious and not allowing a slow business at the beginning to affect what could happen and what eventually will happen if I keep up with it.”
Maples looks forward to her future as a professional photographer; but in the meantime, she enjoys taking pictures to preserve memories she makes in high school.
Above is a slideshow of Stephanie Maples’ photos, displaying her range and skill in capturing various subjects and light.
Featured image (at the top of this post): Maples snaps a shot of the bridge and creek during a hike with her youth group in Big Sur.