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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies ‘develop’ photography skills

Kelley+Starnes%2C+management+information+systems+senior+is+the+photography+club+president.
Photo by Photo by Yuri Suchil

Kelley Starnes, management information systems senior is the photography club president.

The A&M Photography Club does more than develop photos — it develops its members in their craft by teaching them to use a camera.
The Photography Club was started six years ago, and originally known as “Vision Inspired.” The club has been involved on campus working with organizations by taking photos at events, doing headshots at Mays Business School and are currently being featured on the second floor of the MSC in “Aggie Frame of Mind.” The club offers constructive criticism for its work, provides photography opportunities and fosters a community for photographers.
Kelley Starnes, management information systems senior, is the president of Photography Club and said although the name has changed since the club started, it still upholds its initial vision.
“Photography Club is supposed to be a place where everyone who is a photographer can come share ideas, share styles, share camera types, learn about different equipment and it’s just a big collaborative group,” Starnes said. “A lot of the time photography is very independent and so it’s just a group for photographers to feel that there are commonalities and they’re not alone in their artistic pursuit.”
Club members learn the difference between taking a photograph and being involved in the art of photography, as well as what takes a photo to the level of “visual scrap keeping,” or the thought put into the shot, according to club treasurer Chase Zamulinski, electrical engineering sophomore.
“What makes the photographer is putting photographer is putting the effort forth and thought into your image,” Zamulinski said. “We have critique meetings every now and again and we have members submit their photos anonymously, and we look at them and try to give guidance to really become the best photographer that they can become and something that we really try to hone in on is composition — putting thought into it. What do you want them to look at without saying, ‘look here?’”
Networking among members and organizations that have hired the Photography Club to take photos has led to individual members getting contacted to take pictures professionally for events, including graduation pictures and engagement photos. For some members it’s a business, for others it’s a hobby. Raj Viswaprabakaran, mechanical engineering junior, said he does photography as a hobby but may turn it into a business in the future.
“It’s definitely grown from more than just something I’m interested to do into a hobby that I’m putting more time into for sure,” Viswaprabakaran said. “Through the photo club, I’ve been able to get paid opportunities, and through word of mouth people have learned about me, and I’ve been able to take pictures for other clients as well. I haven’t established a business, but I’m contemplating pursuing it in the future.”
At each meeting the club selects a topic about photography to discuss and educate their members about from different genres of photography to how to get off the automatic setting to full on manual to Adobe Photoshop. They accept all forms of cameras at all levels and they challenge members to learn and try by going on excursions to test out what they learned that week. Andy Zalot, English senior, said the club has brought its members out of their comfort zones.
“[A challenge is] not being afraid to take pictures — being critical but learning to be critical productively of yourself … they push you to try new things and they are really supportive of that too,” Zalot said. “I’ve improved on confidence and really understanding my camera and how to take better pictures.”
Applications for membership of the Photography Club open up at the start of the fall semester. For more information visit their website: facebook.com/TAMUPHOTOCLUB/

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