CAPTURING THE MOMENT
I took over 2,000 photos when I studied abroad in South Korea. Sometimes, people in my class would leave their cameras at the hostel to “be in the moment” for whichever sites we were visiting that day. I never shared that impulse.
Maybe it’s because I don’t trust my memory (and I don’t), but I also fundamentally disagree with a definition of photography that the positions the camera as a barrier between its owner and the moment they’re experiencing. For me, the camera is a bridge.
Photography is an act of memory making, and not just in the literal sense of making a moment permanent. The art of it is being able to decide exactly how you want to remember the moment you’re capturing. Are you trying to shoot a building, or are you more impressed with how the light is reflecting off its windows? In Korea, I had to ask myself if my eye was drawn to the lush Tieback mountains or the way the traditional hanok architecture so naturally complemented the rolling landscape. Photography demands that I critically engage with the world around me and make conscious decisions about how I want to look back on my experiences.
In a larger sense, every time I take a photo, I ask, “How do I translate the way I feel right now into a .jpg?”
My time at the Sentry has equipped me with a visual timeline of my college experience. Some assignments forced me to take photos of events I might have otherwise passively attended, but when I look at them now, I’m so happy to have them. Like the articles I’ve written, they’ve allowed me to shape my narrative and take control of the details I value most. When I take notes at a concert or pause to adjust my ISO, I’m not disconnecting from the moment-I’m learning how to see it more clearly.
We just welcomed eight new writers and three new photographers to the Sentry team, and we hope to hire even more people throughout the year. As we’ve sent them off to complete their first assignments, I’ve been thinking about how lucky they are to have to have so many more years ahead of them in this office. While they grow as writers and artists, they’ll also grow a collection of memories and an eye for sharing with CU Denver’s 20,000 students exactly what they see when they attend events across Denver. It’s a lot of responsibility—but it’s also a lot of fun.