Behind the Lens

Grant’s photography skills in action. Photo courtesy of Grant Rayners.

Photography is an art and passion college students have taken up, specifically at Point Loma Nazarene University. For these students, it’s a hobby or passion that can also potentially lead to a career path in the photography field. 

Lael Corbin, a photography professor for the department of art and design at PLNU, teaches on the compelling nature of photography, no matter the style. 

“One third of the visual arts majors are photography, making it the second most popular visual arts concentration at Point Loma,” Corbin said.  

Corbin also gave his own perspective on why photography is so captivating and what makes each picture its own visual. 

“I think that the types of images that continue to captivate me are the ones that make me forget that I am looking at a photograph at all,” Corbin said. “They may capture a moment, tell a story, or might simply be beautiful to look at, but they do so in a way that pulls me out of my own reality and presents me with a different way of seeing.” 

So, how has photography progressed but at the same time remained so timeless? Arielle Pickerign, a first-year media communication major at PLNU said it’s about the ability to capture emotion and provide an opportunity to make the viewer feel something through the creative use of elements such as composition and shutter.

Different cameras produce different visual qualities in a photo. It is up to the photographer to decide what kind of style and aesthetic they are attempting to utilize. 

“I think because you only have a limited amount of exposure on a roll, the photos are more authentic and capture the moment,” said Pickerign. 

Grant Rayners, a first-year business entrepreneurship major at Point Loma, focuses on surf and ocean photography. 

“I love the adrenaline and anticipation of waiting for the perfect moment where a surfer hits a killer turn or air,” Rayners said. 

The camera Rayners uses allows him to capture clear action shots of people surfing. “I shoot mostly on a Sony Mirrorless Camera with a huge telephoto lens which allows me to get really close to the action from super far away.”

Both Pickerign and Rayners had family members who sparked their interest in photography during their childhoods. Pickerign takes many of her pictures in black and white, specifically for wedding photoshoots.

“Growing up, my mom was always really into photography so I was constantly surrounded by cameras,” Pickerign said. “She was influenced by Ansel Adams, a timeless black and white photographer.” 

“My grandfather was a photojournalist in Washington D.C. which jump started the passion and love for photography in my family,” Rayners said. “Ever since I was little, my grandpa has always had a camera in his hands and has been snapping photos of every moment. He has been an inspiration since the beginning.”

Social media has given photographers a platform for their work to be easily accessible to people. Both Pickerign and Rayners use social media to develop their photography styles, as well as to promote their businesses. 

“I have met many different photographers and have booked my shoots through social media,” Pickerign said. “More than just meeting new people, social media has given me a platform to share my work and gain inspiration from the work of others.” 

But does social media also have negative effects on the progression of photography as an art form? 

“The downside is that all of what photography can be as a genre is so heavily influenced by a couple of companies/platforms that we often lose the ability to see how much more photography can be,” Corbin said. “I think it is important to keep asking ourselves ‘what kinds of images would we make if we did not have a couple thousand followers looking over our shoulder?’”

Find Arielle Pickerign’s photography and Grant Rayners’ pictures on Instagram under the handles  @arielle.photos and @grant_rayners_

Written By: Claire Plath