Waters’ Work Shows Advanced Angle


Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Driven by a desire to express simple detail, as well as a desire to challenge perceptions, sophomore Julie Waters took up film photography in middle school, saved up to buy her own camera in 8th grade, and has continued to prove herself as a stand-out photographer in Colette Sweeney’s Photo 1 class.

After taking yearbook in 5th grade, Waters started using her dad’s old film camera. “It’s kind of like digital photography but you have to get the perfect shot the first time,” she said. According to Waters, her habit of perfectionism made film photography “definitely a lot more difficult” than digital. “You know me; I’m more like ‘ok, if there’s a slight difference which one’s better?’ It was fun and I actually think that I took better photos.”

As film was becoming less popular, Waters bought a Cannon EOS Rebel SL1 as an 8th grade graduation present to herself. “Anytime I got money for working or as a present I put it in a box and saved it, and within 5 months I saved 700 dollars and then had to wait another month to actually go get it,” she said.

Waters had wanted to take photo at Campolindo since 8th grade, but wasn’t allowed to as a freshman. “I was really mad that they didn’t offer it, so I wanted to take the class because it’s something I like and then every time I would walk through the office hallway I would see the framed picture boxes with the photo class photos and I’m like ‘oh, I want to get my photo in there’,” she said.

Now enrolled in Photo 1/Digital Design, Waters often finishes her assignments early and is allowed to move ahead. “Ms. Sweeney’s already had me do a project or 2 from the advanced class and they were pretty fun so I wanna do it again,” said Waters. “There was an advanced photo class project that was making a book out of your photos so I did that one and the class didn’t really do that.”

According to classmate Lauren Williams, Waters is known as the class Photoshop expert. “She has a lot of good skills, like she already knows a lot about Photoshop so she helps a lot of students out and she gets to print a lot of her pictures out. During the Photoshop lessons it can be pretty complicated, so I turn to Julie a lot for help with Photoshop, as do a lot of the other students in the class,” Williams said.

“I think that she [Sweeney] appreciates that I actually try in the class because I know there’s a lot of people that don’t try, and I think she appreciates that I take the class seriously because I know that there’s people who don’t,” Waters explained.

Waters’ favorite part of the class is “probably either going out and taking photos or going through and making my own little projects from my photos.” She added, “One thing is I can always see different photos opportunities.”

“One of them was -I still want to do this- when one of the PE classes is running up on the track I want to lay down on the track and get a photo of them running by, just their shoes. I think that would be really cool.”

Photography can be frustrating, though. “It’s definitely a class that kind of is my own kind of class [sic]; it’s better than all the others, but if there’s other people goofing off in class or talking the whole time and she [Sweeney] gets mad then it’s the class where it’s just like ‘can we be done? I don’t want to be here anymore’,” Waters explained.

Waters describes her photography style as “nature and landscape,” due largely to the fact that these 2 things are prevalent on campus. “I think it’s mainly because that’s what we’re able to do at school and at home; that’s the main thing that I can do, but I’ve been trying to get into photographing people. You know, you heard about one of my projects, and I want to do better at that but I don’t always have people around me to do it,” she said.

“I think that she has a really unique perspective on different things, and she takes pictures in unique ways, and they’re very original. One of my favorite photos that she took was of an abalone shell; that one I really liked, and then she also has taken pictures with a lot of different line designs,” said Williams.

The photos that Waters is most proud of are “probably photos I’ve taken with either a macro lens or photos I’ve taken on trips.” When traveling, Waters makes sure to bring her photography equipment, including macro and micro lenses.

“You do get to get a lot closer but with the macro you have to make sure that you’re a lot more steady, because even the slightest movement can ruin your photo,” Waters explained. She uses macro mostly for close ups of insects at school, and is considering making a collection of photos of bees. “I don’t really have a variety of them. They’re mostly pollinating lavender or blue plants.”

According to Waters, strategy is necessary in photographing insects. “Talk about a hard shot to get! That one’s almost impossible. You have to think of where it’s going to go next,” she said. “Usually if I really want to get the photo I’ll stand there and crouch down or whatever and wait until I can get it to sit still for a second. I’ll follow it with the camera and then that will sometimes work.”

With the dedication that Waters invests into photography, she is frustrated by the lack of appreciation for skill in the field. “One thing I don’t like is that popularly said thing about how anyone can take a photo these days. Yeah, that’s true, but you need to have that one thing where you stand out from everyone else,” she said.

High expectations that she holds herself to have changed the way Waters views photography. “Now it’s definitely more like I have to be perfect,” she said. “It’s a little less enjoyable and even when you do get the perfect photo, it’s like, is it really that perfect? You can never tell if it’s that perfect photo; there’s always something I can find wrong with it.”

Waters said that she would consider photography as a side job in her future. “I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer, but because you’re gone for long periods of time, that would interfere with family and I want a family, so I couldn’t really do that,” she said. “I’d like both where I’m not interacting much but I’d also like it if I was interacting a lot. It just depends on the people and how likable they are.”

Waters will move to Advanced Photo next year and hopes for her work to be featured in the office hall. “I honestly like it because I can make people see things differently,” she said.