Software Side Appeals to Photo Fan

Isabel Owens, News Editor

For advanced photo student Vincent Ho, photography is a way to engage with both his technological and artistic interests.

“Halfway through my freshman year I got a camera and started doing hobby photography. I took Intro sophomore year,” Ho said. “My friend, he’s a semi-professional photographer, so I used his DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) and it was really fun so then my parents said, ‘You know what, if you like this so much, we’re going to get you a camera.'”

Ho prefers to spend time editing photos even more than taking them. “I’d say my favorite part is using Photoshop to edit the photos. Actually taking the photos is less fun for me. I like tweaking it and editing it in Photoshop. I think that’s more fun,” he said.

Macro photography, particularly of plants, is Ho’s preferred subject matter. “I can’t remember if it was this year or last year but we had an assignment to take 20 macro shots and I think that was the most fun assignment.” He added, “and you know a while ago, maybe 4 to 6 months ago, Ms. Sweeney did abstract photos over here (in the lighting lab). After that, I started doing that. It’s really cool because you can’t even tell what it is, but it just looks good.”

Ho’s favorite photograph came about rather serendipitously. “There’s this one – remember the fruit project, we had to take photos of fruit? You know how she kept hounding us to bring in the fruit and a bunch of people forgot? I never brought the fruit. I kept forgetting, and eventually I just went outside and got one of the berries out there on the tree and used twigs to hold it up and I took a picture of that and I edited out the twigs. I would say that’s my favorite one,” he said.

The most difficult type of photography for Ho is portraiture. “I’m really bad at those. I can take a mediocre one and make it decent in Photoshop but I can’t make a decent portrait just with a camera. Somehow I’m just really bad at that,” he said.

Ho plans to take AP Photo next year, but after that, “it might just be a hobby.” He explained, “I don’t think I would take any class unless I had a lot of free time.”

The average annual wage of a photographer is $36,000, which has deterred Ho from the career. “They [photographers] don’t make any money. I definitely wouldn’t want to do that unless I’m completely obsessed with photography,” he said. “I think if it paid higher, like it guaranteed at least 80 thousand, I think I’d say yes [to the career] because it gives me a lot of autonomy in my career, like I’m free to do what I want in my own time and not really committed to a schedule.”

Ho also enjoys the autonomy he has in Advanced Photo. “We have projects but the deadlines are usually far away so we have a lot of time to do what we want, so that’s a good thing about this class,” he said. “I think I like photography because you really can’t fail. If you take a bad photo on a 16 gigabyte memory card you can take like 500 more photos and maybe as a perfectionist that’s a good thing. In that sense, it’s kind of easy. Just keep trying until you get the right one.”

Since he began photography, Ho has realized some misconceptions he had about the subject. “I used to think that the only thing that was important was that you had an expensive camera and otherwise you don’t need anything beyond that, and it’s true that of course a better camera is better, but even with a bad one you can take some good photos,” he said.

Producing art with technology comes more naturally to Ho than with pen and paper. “I’d say if you’re really bad at drawing, try photography because it’s a lot easier. I’m God-awful at drawing but photography is a lot easier for me,” he said. “Especially with Photoshop, that really allows you to be a perfectionist, and it’s a lot easier to make things look good in Photoshop than actually drawing things. I don’t consider myself artistic but somehow photo is pretty easy for me.”