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    Junior Catherine Gomez-Thompson cannot picture her life without her camera. Photography to her is not only a way to express herself, but a way to explore the world around her. (Photo/Catherine Gomez-Thompson)

Focused on photography

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Camera in hand, junior Catherine Gomez-Thompson walks down to the beach with her models behind her. She positions them in front of the waves and, as they smile, the shutter clicks. As a self-employed photographer, Gomez has been taking photos of people, landscapes and nature since she got her iPhone 4s when it was first released. For Gomez, photography is not only a job but a passion and a hobby.

“This was taken in London in a park. It was taken when France won the World cup over the summer. I fell asleep during the game, but somehow I managed to get the shot so I’m happy,” Gomez said.(Photo/Catherine Gomez-Thompson)

When she was first starting out, Gomez took pictures mostly of the flowers in her backyard. “I thought flowers were really pretty so I decided ‘hey, why not capture the moment?’ and honestly, it all started with that iPhone,” she said. From there, Gomez was able to get a starter point-and-shoot Canon camera to start taking more high-quality pictures. However, her interest skyrocketed when she started attending Heritage and was able to begin taking photography classes. Despite being mostly self-taught, Gomez attributes a lot of her growth as a photographer to her photography teacher, Ms. Teresa Smith and inspirational photographers such as Bryant Eslava (@bryant) and Brandon Woefel (@brandonwoefel) on Instagram as well as Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange.

Gomez loves to shoot her own photos, but she also enjoys editing them. “I love natural colors, so I use Lightroom to enhance them and make them pop out more,” Gomez said. She currently uses her Sony a6300 to take portraits, and occasionally her dad’s Sony a6000 and Nikon D750 for other photography.

Gomez’s academic schedule limits her spare time, so whenever she does have a day off, she takes advantage of it and schedules a shoot. “ Usually when I hang out with my friends, I’ll bring my camera along, and I’ll take plenty of pictures because I do love to take pictures of my friends to capture the memory,” Gomez said.

One of Gomez’s best portraits, this photo features junior Myla Allaf and was taken in the photography studio on campus. (Photo/Catherine Gomez-Thompson)

Even though she still enjoys taking pictures of nature and animals, Gomez likes her main focus to be on people. She describes their emotions as “raw and genuine and so special. A single picture of a person can tell you everything about them in one snapshot.” Staying true to her favorite style, Gomez takes photos of her friends and family, but also random people. When taking pictures, however, Gomez describes herself as “very shy and awkward, so I can’t just go up to them and ask for the picture.” Instead, she often finds herself standing behind an object or a person trying to capture the perfect shot

Gomez channels her passion and work ethic into clubs, jobs and her YouTube account (which she created with her friend junior Adelina Marinello). She has taken headshots for many of her family’s members as well as a couple close friends. As the president of the school’s photography club, Gomez is also in the process of creating a program called Photogra For Hire, where teachers can hire student photographers in the club to photograph their events. “Even though it is recommended that you take the photography class, you can always apply to get in the club. You can give us a mini portfolio and [the club] review the work and see if you have a genuine interest,” Gomez said. To book her, one can direct message her on her photography Instagram account @catherinegomezphoto or via email at pl235221@ahschool.com.

Gomez aspires to keep taking photos and to grow her brand as a photographer and YouTuber. Until then, she will continue to shoot photos of her friends and focus on school, the Photography Club and travelling the world (to take more photos, of course).

Maia Fernandez Baigun is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Even though this is only her second year on staff, Maia loves working on the newspaper staff. She is also Vice President of Save the Memories. Maia participates in service projects and loves to discover new music and trendy restaurants. She is an avid Billie Eilish fan and, in her free time, enjoys writing and taking pictures of nature. For her, a perfect day consists of sleeping in, avocado toast, and binge-watching Netflix originals.

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