When 2003 Conestoga graduate Jamie Chung was asked to photograph a military commissioned spy drone for TIME Magazine, he eagerly accepted. His photograph of the Hummingbird Spy Drone, developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, was featured on the cover of Time’s November “Invention Issue.”
“It was a challenge. Time is a weekly [publication] so there was a lot of pressure to get things done very quickly and turn it in very quickly,” Chung said. “It’s very intense.”
After graduating from Conestoga, Chung went on to pursue a career in photography and attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. He first developed an interest in photography during high school and especially enjoyed the process of developing photos in the dark room.
“I fell in love with the dark room, really, that magic process of having the blank paper and seeing the image just slowly appear on it,” Chung said.
As a freelance photographer, Chung has had the freedom and opportunity to work for several major publications. However, as a high school student, he wasn’t completely sure what he wanted to study.
“To be perfectly honest, I picked [photography] not really knowing its practical application,” Chung said. “I really liked it, but I could have just as easily have gotten into ceramics. I had a lot of artistic passions.”
Graduate Jamie Chung took this photograph for TIME Magazine. Courtesy Jamie Chung.
Besides the TIME cover, Chung’s work has also appeared in ESPN Magazine, GQ and New York Magazine. Chung urges the next generation of student photographers not to ignore the film process and to learn how to develop their own film.
“Really learning how to develop a piece of film correctly [and] exposing a piece of film correctly is just a good foundation,” Chung said.
Sophomore Alex Schon is one member of this new generation of photographers. He, like Chung, developed a strong interest in photography after taking the photography elective courses.
“I notice, looking back at my photographs, before and after I took the two photography classes offered at Conestoga, a huge change in the quality of the photographs,” Schon said. “It really made me think about what pictures I take and what needs to be going on in them.”
Schon, currently in the process of starting a photography business with his brother, hopes to continue to take photographs in the future and to perfect his art.
“I think it will always be a part of me as a hobby,” Schon said. “I don’t know if I would want to make it a profession, though I’ll definitely want to continue it later into my life.”
Senior Olivia Arico has also benefitted from the opportunities at Conestoga. She has been taking pictures for five years, and improved her skills through the Studio Art program.
“Throughout my four years of Studio Art I have definitely worked with other mediums but I like photography the best because of the flexibilty of it,” Arico said. “You can take an extremely realistic photograph, or a photograph that is very abstract with just colors and shapes but both represent reality.”
Junior and Photography Club president Alex Tewnion looks at film in the photography darkroom. Tewnion started Photography Club after discovering his love of photography in the Amazon rainforest. Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE
Junior Alex Tewnion discovered his passion for nature photography two years ago, when he asked to borrow a friend’s camera while on a service trip in the Amazon rainforest. He decided to create a photography club at Conestoga upon his return.
The goal in founding the club was “to get people’s photos out there,” Tewnion said. “Everyone enjoys showing off their photos, but it’s a place not only to show them, but to critique them as well.”
Junior Jake Buly is also interested in photography, though his focus differs greatly from that of Tewnion. Because he is an experienced dirt bike rider, Buly enjoys shooting what interests him most—motocross events.
“I just do local stuff, usually practices,” Buly said. “They let you on the track as long as you’re 18 or as long as you have a permission form signed.”
After shooting an event, Buly spends hours editing the approximately 600 photographs he has taken. The goal is to weed out any undesirable shots before uploading the best to a website where the images can be purchased.
Regardless of their professional aspirations, Chung has one piece of advice to give to student photographers.
“Look at a lot of things,” Chung said. “Look at a lot of things and just shoot a lot.”
Noah Levine can be reached at email@example.com.