Jenn Finds Visual Arts Appealing

Isabel Owens, Opinion and Copy Editor

Photography club president Maya Jenn has come a long way since she decided, watching her cousins shoot family portraits, to “give it a try” with her iPhone camera.

“My interest in it was probably the beginning of 2011, like January, and I slowly used my phone. And my next wish was to get a camera as my birthday present, and I got one in the summer,” Jenn explained.

In the summer of 2015, Jenn attended SOCAPA, a “once in a lifetime” arts camp in New York. “I was able to take a lot of photos there. Especially cityscapes. That was probably when I first started [to become more advanced,]” she said.

“You had an assignment each week within the 3 weeks that you were there, and then at the very end you were supposed to come up with an independent project. That independent project I did on ‘abnormality.’ I chose to do abnormality because I was inspired by one of the previous students that my teacher had when I was there,” Jenn added.

Her project embodied “how people see things in a different way” through a series of abstract portraits. “There’s arms and legs coming from different areas. The set up and process of doing that project was really –I got a shower curtain, and I took 2 lighting soft-boxes behind the subject, and I just shot it from there,” she said.

The following school year, Jenn enrolled in Photo 1. “I started to go on shoots with one of my good friends Randall Gee, except we weren’t able to go out as much yet because we weren’t as experienced. But toward the end of 2015, we went on this one shoot with Art of Visuals, from Instagram, and we were introduced to so many other photographers. I posted the photos that I got from that shoot, and people from Acalanes and Miramonte started asking us ‘Do you want to go out on this shoot?’ and we started planning more and more shoots,” she said.

Jenn uses her Instagram account, @mayajennt to connect with other Bay Area photographers. “I started that account in the summer of 2015, after I got back from camp, but it didn’t really work out so I deleted most of the photos that were on the account. And then I got back into the posting routine in the beginning of January,” she said. “I feel like the new account, it made me feel like I got a fresh start.”

“But the one thing is that not many people know about it that go to Campo. I don’t really follow a lot of people who go to school here. A lot of people may know that I do photography, but not a lot of people know that I have this account where I share photography. I feel like it should be [separate from school,] but also I want people to know that if you ever want to go on a shoot, you’re more than welcome to. If you ever want to, go ahead,” she added.

She shoots primarily portraits. “I find that you can see the beauty in a person,” she said.

Jenn revived the Campolindo Photography Club last year. “I heard from Ms. Sweeney that before my freshman year there was a photography club, but they didn’t continue it the following year, and I decided to start it because I wanted to see who would join it and who would want to go out and shoot,” she said.

“It didn’t really work out last year. It wasn’t the best. We didn’t have that many people, I guess because I wasn’t as advanced and neither were my friends, but once we got into the school year, more towards the end of the school year, we went on more shoots and kept going,” she added. “Even with those shoots, we didn’t have enough time to focus on the photo club, but this year because we’re more organized and found new people who are more interested in photography, we are starting to go out on more shoots and inviting and welcoming people from Campo to go on these shoots with us.”

This year, Jenn skipped Advanced Photo to be in AP Photo. She is the only junior in the class. “I think I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do well in AP. I would have gone in order from Photo 1 to Advanced Photo, but I feel like because of my knowledge with photography, I feel like I knew enough,” she explained.

Jenn described her photo class as a “fun” time. “It’s different from Photo 1 because Ms. Sweeney, I think, trusts you more with the work. She’s open about certain things because you would already know what to do. You have more freedom,” she said.

Senior Alex Dusauzay is in class with Jenn. “[Her photography is] very inspirational, and you can tell that in her photography she pays attention to detail and she knows what she’s doing. I feel like she has some of the best pictures. I want her to teach me her ways, because I’m super bad compared to her,” Dusauzay said.

“Maya was by far my most favorite student in 3rd period World History 2 years ago. I was so inspired by her photography that I wrote her a letter of recommendation to go to photography camp, where I’m sure she made many friends who share a love of photography,” teacher Dino Petrocco said.

Jenn attended a photography camp last summer, expecting to work on photography, but discovered an interest in film. “I went this year, this summer, for the film making camp, and I created this film called Blue. It was something new. It was one of my first films, so I can’t really say anything, but I’ve worked with cameras before so it was pretty easy to understand the set up and what to do. Just directing and coming up with a story or storyline was difficult. That was probably the challenging part,” she said.

Jenn plans to do another film camp this summer through Digital Media Academy. “I like motion pictures, is that the word? To be honest, I don’t know much about film, but I want to start producing more films as the year goes on,” she said. “I really enjoy photography, but I feel like majoring in photography might not be the best decision for me, just because I feel like it’s not really going to take me anywhere. I’m still undecided with what I want to do, but I do want to go into the art field, not academics, because that’s not my strongest point.”

Jenn said that she is “more right brained than I am left brained,” making her a visual learner. “If I see things that I find really cool I’ll try to do something with it, whereas academics is more reading and reading and reading and writing,” she said. “I’m very introverted in academic classes, like English and history and science classes. But when I’m in my art classes or electives in general, like AP Photo, I can kind of be more open. I’m more open to what I want to do. I’m more extroverted.”