Heistand Heralded as Photo Junky


Kelly Pien, Staff Writer

Molly Heistand is a familiar presence in B6. Very familiar. In fact, the senior is in the photo room 1st period as a teacher’s assistant for the Photo 1 class, 3rd period as an Advanced Photo student, and throughout lunch working on her projects.

In addition, she runs the photo club at lunch in B6 on Fridays.

“I basically live in that room,” Heistand said.

“She’ll stay in my period and help, even though it’s not hers, and she’ll stay in at lunch and help us with our portraits,” said senior Brianna Manzone, a friend of Heistand’s and a Photo 1 student.

Clearly, Heistand is passionate about photography. “I love the creativity, the inspiration, and being able to say, ‘I took that photo that’s hanging in the office or the CPAC,'” she said.

Her photo subjects vary. “I kind of go through phases. Right now, I’m in a portrait phase, because that’s what our projects are centered around. I’m planning to do some independent projects where I’m just going to take a whole bunch of portraits.”

Though the time Heistand spends on photography is unusual, what is more surprising is that this is Heistand’s 1st year of Photo at Campo. She skipped Photo 1.

“Molly brought with her experience taking photos on her own,” said photo teacher Collette Sweeney. “She simultaneously TA-ed and took Advanced [Photo], and so she was able to learn a great deal.”

Heistand has been taking photos as a hobby since she was 10 years old, when she got her first camera. Now, she owns 7 cameras, and most of them are film cameras, as opposed to digital.

The only other formal photo class she has taken outside of Campo was during the summer before her 8th grade year at Kennolyn Camp in Soquel, CA (a small town near Monterey Bay) where she learned how to develop film in a dark room.

When Heistand was in 8th grade, she won 1st place in the Photo category of her middle school’s Creative Arts and Writing Contest with a picture of icicles. That was when Heistand decided that she enjoyed photography.

At Campo, Heistand took Yearbook in her freshman and sophomore years. “Yearbook played a key role in associating photo with my identity,” Heistand said.

She took Art 1 in her junior year because she needed to fulfill her visual/performing arts graduation requirement, and couldn’t get into a photo class. According to Heistand, that was when she started talking to Sweeney, who happened to be Heistand’s art teacher at the time.

“It started with a lot of dialogue in art class, talking about big ideas. I like to talk about big ideas. So does Molly,” said Sweeney. “I told her that I liked photo more. I showed her my portfolio of photos I already had,” said Heistand.

Sweeney was impressed by Heistand’s work outside of school. “I think that when students take the initiative, it shows that they’re highly motivated, and it shows that they have a keen interest in learning. No great student or artist starts out with fabulous work, but they all start out with passion and a desire to know,” Sweeney said. After that conversation, Heistand decided to take the Photo course.

Heistand is the self-proclaimed “go-to person if you need anything done in the photo room,” but the statement doesn’t tell the whole story. During 1st period, as a teaching assistant for Photo 1, she helps teach, keeps track of what comes in and out of the photo room, clears cameras, makes sure the camera batteries are charged, solves problems in the lighting lab, gives advice on the students’ projects, and does printer maintenance. According to Sweeney, Heistand mostly works on her own projects during 3rd period and lunch, but sometimes helps other students too.

Since Heistand will be graduating this year, she won’t be around next year to help the photo program. This raises the question: who will replace her? Sweeney said that the photo club would continue next year, but she wasn’t as certain about next year’s Photo 1 TA. As of early March, she did not know of anyone who was interested. “If there’s somebody who thinks they can help run the photo lab, please step forward,” she said.

As for Heistand’s future, she sees herself pursuing photo “not as a major, but as a hobby.”

A very time-consuming hobby.