I hadn’t laid eyes on Oberlin’s campus until the first day of freshman orientation two years ago (though it feels like yesterday), and I haven’t closed them since, except for some naptimes between classes, work, and extracurriculars. I had moved to Hawaii a few years before I began applying to college, and visits meant far flights and huge time commitments. But I had heard so much about Oberlin, from my dad and from other Oberlin alumni I had known growing up. After I got here, I was convinced I was going to be overwhelmed with classes and friends, so I decided to take and share daily pictures of my life rather than email or call parents and friends semi-frequently.
Now, my side hobby has turned into amazing opportunities I never expected. I am surrounded by some of the most talented people in the world and it has inspired me to capture the true happiness that so many people feel as they are creating, performing, and living, which has luckily rubbed off on me as well in the process. Being at Oberlin and loving the arts go hand in hand, and luckily I get to translate my love of people, music, theater, and dance to a medium that serves both as a reminder and an inspiration to past, present and future Obies.
Capturing the world as visual art is not as simple as just snapping the shutter, though. Classes in anthropology, psychology, and sociology have helped me understand the values of participant observation and social interactions, which I have applied to my own interests in photography, which have been expanded by cinema and art classes as well. I have also made the most of the relationships I have developed with both students and staff to help expose the little-known glories and offerings of this campus.
I was told in a class years ago that the definition of religion was what you decided to dedicate your life to. At this point in my life, I have decided that my religion is photography, that cameras are my eyes, and I will probably not change the way I look at things ever again. This discovery has made me see the positive in situations, helped me through difficult times, and made me appreciate and understand the simplest to the most complex facets of my life.