For teen artist, ‘Any­thing is worth a pic­ture’

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY VANESSA INFANZON Arts cor­re­spon­dent

Three years ago, JaiMaria Howard re­ceived a Canon t5i for Christ­mas. She wanted to make videos, but her friends had other ideas – they wanted her to take pho­tos of them. This led her to tak­ing In­tro to Dig­i­tal Photo and In­ter­me­di­ate Dig­i­tal Pho­tog­ra­phy classes at The Light Fac­tory. She re­cently re­ceived sec­ond place in this year’s an­nual mem­bers’ show (on view un­til Jan. 4), for a pho­to­graph of her sis­ter. JaiMaria, 15, an­swered a few ques­tions for the Ob­server’s KNOW se­ries; re­sponses have been edited for clar­ity and brevity.

What in­spired you to take this photo? I took the photo of my sis­ter, Madi­son, in June. I was let­ting my dog out­side, and I could see the sun shin­ing on a sec­tion of the fence. I asked Madi­son if I could take pic­tures of her. We played mu­sic, she did

what she did, and I did what I did with the cam­era. We broke a part of the fence in the process.

When I went to edit, I did a lot to that one im­age. The col­ors are re­ally what makes it hap­pen in the pic­ture.

What’s some­thing you’d want peo­ple to know be­fore they see your pho­tos? A lot of the time, I don’t have a set fo­cus on what I want to cre­ate. And if I do have a fo­cus, it usu­ally goes out the win­dow two sec­onds after I be­gin a shoot. I want peo­ple to know that much of my work is spon­ta­neous. I take a sub­ject, my cam­era and a lo­ca­tion and cre­ate.

What about the work you’re do­ing right now makes you most proud? What makes me most proud is my growth. When I look at pic­tures I took six months ago, I see how I’ve im­proved from tak­ing classes and prac­tic­ing. I’ve learned tech­ni­cal things like when is the right time to take pic­tures and how to use Pho­to­shop.

Have you learned any les­sons? Shoot­ing RAW (a photo for­mat like jpeg) al­lows you to have more free­dom with blues, greens and reds dur­ing the edit­ing process, which is my fa­vorite part of pho­tog­ra­phy.

An­other les­son is any­thing is worth a pic­ture. With the right an­gles and light­ing, you can make any back­ground beau­ti­ful. I’ve taken pic­tures in run­down park­ing lots, but with the right tim­ing and an­gles, you can make a beau­ti­ful im­age. With edit­ing on top of that, you can make it look like you shot it in Paris in the spring.

What’s some­thing that might sur­prise peo­ple? My fa­vorite part about edit­ing is com­par­ing the fi­nal prod­uct to what came straight out of the cam­era be­cause it’s a pretty dras­tic dif­fer­ence. Be­ing able to take some­thing that was kind of OK and turn it into some­thing that’s re­ally great is a lot of fun.

What does the Char­lotte arts scene need most right now, in your view? Char­lotte needs more orig­i­nal­ity. You see a lot of styles of art, but we’ve seen it so many times. I think peo­ple who cre­ate art should cre­ate from the heart. If your heart is telling you to recre­ate a style, do it and add your own flair.

This story is part of an Ob­server un­der­writ­ing project with the Thrive Cam­paign for the Arts, sup­port­ing arts jour­nal­ism in Char­lotte.


JaiMaria Howard with the photo she took of her 12-year-old sis­ter, Madi­son.

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