Photo student hones skills at MHCC

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you filmed is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you’ve forgotten everything.

– Aaron Siskind, famous American photographer

Photo by Aquilina Larkins

Art is something that comes in many forms. Some we can see with our eyes, some we can smell, and some we can feel with our hands.

One thing is certain: beauty and appreciation are in the eyes of the beholder. What makes art is the ability to create and capture emotions – sometimes pride, sometimes sadness, and sometimes love. It is also said that art, or the artist who creates it, is sometimes so powerful that just looking at a painting or listening to music can bring some people to tears.

The discussion of art appreciation brings me to one of our own, CSMC student Aquilina Larkins, who is majoring in photography and is about to earn an associate degree in art.

Whether we’re talking about creativity or artistic vision, seeing Aquilina’s work left me speechless, with a mix of intrigue and emotion. I myself have witnessed the pure power of a true artist with his art, his magic, his moving people. The Avengers and the X-men have their superpowers; Larkins has his camera.

Alongside her studies, she works as a professional photographer in the hope of opening her own studio. She has done professional gigs like portraits for friends and loved ones, weddings and other festivals, with most of her work coming from word of mouth. His sports photo recently made the cover of The Advocate, to rave reviews.

Looking at her wedding or family photos, you can’t help but feel like you’re there. The joy on the face of the bride is simply captivating, for example. Photos taken of competing athletes capture the aura of victory that surrounds victors. As I said before, “Aquilina is Utopia”, a title deriving from the emotion I feel when looking at her work.

Aquilina Larkins, 2nd year photography student

When asked how she produced such captivating images, Larkins said she had been taking pictures since she was in elementary school. Fast forward 10 years, and here it is. As for everyone who influenced her photography, she said a bit of YouTube content (very little), but she was mostly self-taught and lived through years of trial and error.

“Good things don’t just come to us; we have to make it happen,” is a credo she lives by, she said.

Yet when asked who the biggest influencer is today, she said the person who honed a lot of her skills was Mt. Hood photography teacher David Strohl.

From my perspective, the photography program here at the MHCC is one of the best in the region. I’m not talking about the facilities or the equipment – ​​it’s as good as any other program. I am referring to embedded media instructors and support staff.

As director of photography faculty at Mt. Hood, Strohl said, “Our primary goal is to further develop the future of our students in photography as well as other aspects of life – [since] it is a competitive market. We teach lighting, sharpening techniques and storytelling.

To relate Strohl’s own experience and teaching credentials, we have to go back about 12 years. He began teaching at the Art Institute in Austin, Texas, then took a job at the MHCC nine years ago. During his time as a professional photographer, his work was recognized by the prestigious Communication Arts group (an organization that recognizes the best illustration and design artists across Europe as well as the United States and Canada.

He describes his own artistic values ​​with names such as “community” and “celebration”.

Strohl also leads the video content creation section within the photography department.

Regarding the IM program, he said, “I will teach my students all about photography and all the unexpected career paths that are available.”

Based on his own experience, “If the student wishes, like Aquilina, I teach him technical skills and creativity [so that] once they complete the program, they will be ready to work as professionals.

Strohl still has regular art shows, which readers are encouraged to judge for themselves. And a simple integrated media mantra that leads to success: “Be nice, work hard, and wear the right shoes.”

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