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Focusing on who's behind the camera: photographers in our community Story by Anna Compagno

Taylor Leslie

“I strive to capture beauty that usually goes unnoticed.”

Senior Taylor Leslie has been taking photos since middle school. Beginning as a hobby, she would take photos on her iPhone, edit them on apps and either post or save them in her camera roll.

After receiving her first camera freshman year, she decided photography was more than just a casual activity and pursued it more seriously. She started taking photography at Redwood her sophomore year and is now an AP Photography student.

“I decided to take a class at Redwood to gain a deeper understanding of photography, and I have learned how to convey meaningful messages through my work,” Leslie said.

Photos by Taylor Leslie

She has also expanded into different mediums, using her original photos as canvases to edit on Photoshop.

“Sometimes what I’ll do is I’ll take a photograph and feel like it’s incomplete. I throw it in Photoshop and add or create something else with it, like drawing on it or [add] stickers,” Leslie said.

She recently launched a website where she showcases her work, along with providing the option to buy large prints or stickers of her photos. Accompanying her website, Leslie runs an Instagram account where she posts her photos, @tay.takesphotos.

Graphics by Taylor Leslie

According to Leslie, she draws her inspiration from photography accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Her favorite photographer is Chris Burkard because he captures nature through a unique perspective and inspires her to go out in Marin and find new places to shoot. Similar to Burkard, her favorite place to take photos is in the outdoors.

“My favorite thing to do is venture in Marin, especially West Marin. Sometimes on the weekends I wake up at 5 a.m. and go shoot surfers with my friends at Cronkhite,” Leslie said.

According to Leslie, she plans to continue pursuing photography in college, majoring in digital communications and incorporating her passion into a future career. Photography means more than just an image to her— it’s a life-long memory.

“I take photos because I want to preserve something I’ve [seen]. Photos are positive memories, and when I’m older I have a vision of being able to look back at the photos I took so I can remember my high school years,” Leslie said.

Bo Tippo

“I take pictures because of the places [they] take you.”

Sophomore Bo Tippo first was exposed to photography after discovering his grandpa’s film camera in his house, which was the first camera he ever took photos on. Eventually, he bought his first digital camera a few years ago.

Once he had a digital camera, Tippo started to take photos more professionally. This is the first year he can take photography at Redwood, and he plans on taking the class for the rest of high school.

According to Tippo, his favorite type of photography is of scenic views and landscape shots throughout Marin. He prefers to photograph the outdoors because he can edit and alter the photos to have a more professional and hued appearance. He uses Adobe Lightroom to edit photos to bring out highlights, shadows, and colors that are already within the images.

“It took me a while to really [get Adobe Lightroom] down and make the pictures the way I like to them look. I definitely have a more bright and colorful look to my photos. I want them to grab people’s eyes,” Tippo said.

Photos by Bo Tippo

Similar to Leslie, Tippo also draws inspiration from photographers on Instagram, specifically those who capture nature. His prefers to shoot landscapes and his favorite place in the Bay Area to photograph is Mt. Tam.

Tippo is also hoping to expand his skills more into the field of videography. To him, photography is the start of what he wants to create.

“I’m looking to learn more about video and working more in that area of art. I think it’s more interesting; there’s more that you can do with video compared to film,” Tippo said.

Even though he may be in the early years of his photography career, Tippo already has a large following on Instagram. His account @Botippo has over 4,800 followers.

Photos by Bo Tippo

“Taking photos just makes me feel happy. When I’m out on Mt. Tamalpais or [at] any nice view, being able to capture and share with people is very fulfilling,” Tippo said.

Michele Minami

“Being able to capture a moment is special to me.”

After suffering from a foot injury her freshman year, senior Michele Minami had to give up dancing. With no way to express herself, she was in need of a new creative outlet, so she turned to one of her favorite hobbies: photography.

“I have always liked storytelling, and I have loved to take photos since I was younger, so photography has been a part of my life since as long as I can remember. I just looked at it more seriously once I could no longer dance and used it as a way to express myself,” Minami said.

Photo by Michele Minami

According to Minami, she especially enjoys documentary photography, which consists of natural photos of everyday life, usually in black and white, with a film look.

“It’s timeless. I like taking photos of moments in daily life that other people might not acknowledge,” Minami said.

According to Minami, she does not have to travel very far to find something beautiful to capture. She usually goes outside to random streets or other locations in Marin to practice documentary photography or photojournalism.

Photos by Michele Minami

Minami posts her photos on her Instagram account, @micheleandhercamera. This past summer she did a photo program at Parsons School of Design New York City, where she made a website, which also displays more of her work.

Minami is considering minoring in photography in college because itis a part of her life and she plans on continuing to take photos in the future.

“Having a piece of art that you’ve made and that’s unique to you means a lot to me. I love knowing everything I create I can look back on forever,” Minami said.

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