Interview with Sophia, Teen Photographer!

Bio: Sophia chew is a 16 year old living near Seattle, Washington. She enjoys bringing her camera everywhere, and hanging out with friends. Quarantine has made her love for photography skyrocket, and she’s having fun experimenting with different photography styles. As time goes on, she plans on documenting the black lives matter movement from a teenage perspective. She wants her photography to reflect empathy, creativity, and kindness in our modern world. Of Asian descent, she understands the struggles of being a minority. She wants to use her photography in a way to educate and empathize.

Interview by Aleena Kumandan

Hello! I’m Sophia, or some people call me Soph or Sophie (I’m good with any). I go to a high school near Seattle. I am sixteen, and a freshman.

Alrighty Soph, what do you like to do for fun?

I love to take pictures and hang out with my friends. Sometimes both at the same time haha

How did you get into photography?

My dad had an extra camera, and he used to take a bunch of photos when he was in middle school and high school. I also fell in love with magazines and photos I’d see online and on social media!

Is there a particular moment or place that you'd say is when/where you really fell in love with photography?

I’m not sure. I don’t think there was a specific moment. I guess I didn’t realize the impact of photography until quarantine started. Because Seattle was one of the first places to have corona cases in the US, I was quick to get my camera and shoot whenever I could.

In your opinion what makes photography so impactful?

The fact that it’s completely unique. You could never recreate photos because it was capturing an exact moment in time. It’s like a time capsule, and it depicts emotions and feelings. The fascinating thing is that only you know how you were feeling in that moment. It can also be used to document and share about important issues. I plan on documenting the protests in my city from a teenagers point of view.

Have you been very actively involved in the protesting?

I haven’t been able to in the past two days or so. I did however go to Seattle and take photos of kids cleaning up the streets after our first protest. The peaceful protests are quickly becoming super dangerous and our police are becoming more and more careless about who they harm. This included people of press (photographers, reporters, journalists) and it’s scary. They’re using gas and bullets, and it’s super frightening.

It is so so important to protest these major issues at this time. What inspires you to go out and do photography? Why is it important?

Like many have said, we are for sure living through textbook history times. I noticed that when we read about major events, it’s always from the adults point of view. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just believe it is equally as important to voice my views and share what the youth is thinking. We are the young adults growing up into this world, and experiencing so much in such little time exposes us. We’re all growing up faster than we probably thought, and it’s important to document our thoughts, reactions, and feelings.

That is so true that this will be the first major era in history where people will be able to look back on a teenage point of view. When did you start doing photography?

I didn’t really get into it until about a year ago!

What prompted you to get started?

I’ve always considered myself an artistic/ creative person. I guess photography just became a mix of a creative outlet and a way to voice my thoughts and document. I think I just needed a creative outlet 😅

What makes a good picture?

I think artistically it depends on composition and what it is you’re actually photographing. I also think it depends on the intention of the photograph.

So like how well a person was able to capture their artistic visions?

Kinda like that! Most of the time I’m not able to completely capture what I wanted or planned, but it’s about making the most of what you have in front of you

What makes a good photographer?

Someone that’s okay with fail, or rejection. Someone who’s comfortable with the fact that there’s constantly room for improvement. And good positive intentions too!

That is a great definition! Do you have any advice for fellow teen photographers?

Ooh. I guess do it because you love it! Be comfortable with your growth, and try to make someone feel something with your photos!

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