This website uses cookies. By using the site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

8 minute read

Getting to Know Our Students of Storytelling Winners Part 3

Our Students of Storytelling program is in full swing, and our winners are actively creating some compelling content. See below to learn a bit more about our student winners!

Brennan Booker

College/University – University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Age – 23

1 – How did you first get interested in photography?

My mom is a photographer, and one day she gave me an old camera of hers. I grew up moving around a lot because of the military so I used photography as a way of making friends. Eventually when I got to college I felt really lost and directionless, as the major I had started with was really not working out for me, but a friend recommended I try the photo program and see how that worked out for me. That’s when I really started to take photography as something I could do as a career. 

2 – What’s your favorite type of photography to shoot? (street, landscape, portrait, etc.) Why?

I used to define myself as a portrait artist, but recently I’ve been shooting a lot of landscapes. After moving to Nebraska for graduate school I was separated from the people I was making portraits of before, so that in combination with a new topography to look at and study have been really driving my work recently. 

3 – What do you find most challenging about photography?

I think the most challenging images to make are the ones that tell the truth. One of my friends once said to me after making their portrait that they didn’t like the way they looked in the photo but loved the photo because it told the truth about them. That they saw themselves outside of the way they had built up their consciousness about themselves. I think it’s really easy to take a photo of something, but it is far more difficult to take a photo about something. 

4 – What’s your favorite image you’ve shot, and why?

The one I’m going to make tomorrow. Or the day after that, or something. 

5 – What are you hoping to take away from Students of Storytelling?

I hope to allow people to engage with images more critically. I want to also validate the work of students in the world of photography. 

View Profile


 

Kimberly Nguyen

College/University – University of Connecticut
Age – 22

1 – How did you first get interested in photography?

I worked at The Daily Campus, the independent student newspaper at UConn. I worked next to the photo computer when I was a freshmen and saw all these amazing student photographers upload their photos from all walks of life around campus. At one point, it wasn’t enough to just put these photos in my page designs — I wanted to take those photos too. The student photographers, that wild and wacky bunch with boundless skills, instilled confidence in me to buy my first camera and just start taking photos. 

2 – What’s your favorite type of photography to shoot? (street, landscape, portrait, etc.) Why?

I really love portrait photography. There’s just something about an un-posed, candid moment where something is either just relaxing, taking in a moment or just laughing out loud. I think portraits, a close-up of someone’s features, are amazing to capture. I also love how portrait photography is inclusive of everyone and the most beautiful photos to me doesn’t necessarily catch traditional beauty. When I look at portrait photos, and when I take my own, I am always drawn to eyes. 

3 – What do you find most challenging about photography?

There’s so much to capture all the time. I want to keep taking beautiful, emotional photography without getting lost in the technicalities but also allowing them to enhance my work and goals.

4 – What’s your favorite image you’ve shot, and why?

My grandpa in Vietnam. I rarely get to see my grandparents and so being able to capture them at their home in Long An when I had a break during the summer and just relax with them, these candid moments are the ones I love to capture. They live on the top floor, which has the best “studio lighting” in the house but to me, I’m just their grandkid with the camera. I don’t rarely take photos of my family because I’ve never seen them as subjects for my camera. 

5 – What are you hoping to take away from Students of Storytelling?

Going off my previous answer, I want to capture my family more and document my family history. I feel a responsibility as I grow older to keep an image library of family history, especially now that I’ve been granted this amazing opportunity to document my dad’s life history. The immigrant story is indirectly my own. I am hoping to gain new epiphanies about being a daughter, a creator and new skills with these tools and mentorship that I’ve been given. I think I went my next creative chapter to be a storyteller with a purpose. 

Bonus Question – Is there anything else you’d like Fujifilm fans to know about you or your photography?

I don’t like to categorize my photography. At the end of the day, I want to try anything and everything, and if I enjoy or constantly take the same photos all the time, I feel the innate urge to try something else. I’m constantly learning and have only picked up a camera three years ago — imposter syndrome will always hit me from all angles but a photographer is only as good as the support system of friends and family they surround themselves with, which I am lucky to have! My photos are for them. 

View Profile


 

Natcha Wongchanglaw

College/University – School of Visual Arts
Age – 33

1 – How did you first get interested in photography?

I like traveling and taking photos of the places I visit. I had my first photography class in 2004 when I was an exchange student in a small town called Fremont, in Michigan, U.S.A. It was where I was exposed to film photography, darkroom, a human-scale pinhole camera, as well as my first awards. However, I did not continue my photography after I went back to my country, Thailand, since it was not often a career choice there. Almost four years ago, I decided to quit my job and started studying photography more seriously. Now here I am, earning my master’s degree in photography in New York City.

2 – What’s your favorite type of photography to shoot? (street, landscape, portrait, etc.) Why?

Travel Photography; both landscape/cityscape and people. I also like portraits and currently, I am interested in and working on a documentary project.

3 – What do you find most challenging about photography?

Right now, I find that to channeling my creativity into a concept is the most challenging. To take photos randomly is one thing, but to create a storytelling project is not as easy. We have to be able to answer why this story is important, and why we want to do it. 

4 – What’s your favorite image you’ve shot, and why?

I have many! I mean I like most of my works, that’s why I created them!

One of my favorite images is a composite image of my “Tiny Me” series. I combined my studio self-portrait and scenery. I like this image because of the cohesive colors of the overall image and my facial expression. I look happy!

For a straight photograph, I like the image of a rural neighborhood of a small town in Michigan; Fremont. It is part of my thesis project. I like the peaceful atmosphere of the image as well as the blue sky and the leading line of the road.

5 – What are you hoping to take away from Students of Storytelling?

Experience and knowledge. I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about Fujifilm and its products as well as to collaborate with the Fujifilm team and its partners. It is very interesting and exciting to see how such a renowned international brand like Fujifilm works. I think it will be fun and informative. I hope to learn how to develop ideas and techniques to create better storytelling and become a successful storyteller. On the other hand, I hope that my storytelling will benefit Fujifilm and viewers in some way, and hope they will enjoy looking at my photographs.

Bonus Question – Is there anything else you’d like Fujifilm fans to know about you or your photography?

 

First of all, my name is Natcha Wongchanglaw, but my friends call me Nan or Nannie. I am originally from Bangkok, Thailand. I am currently residing in Queens, New York. My photography started 16 years ago when I was an exchange student in the United States. However, I did not continue after. I still took photographs but more like selfies. It took me maybe 12-13 years to realize how much I enjoyed making a photograph. I decided to quit my reliable, well-paid job in 2016 and turned to photography more seriously. I wanted to pursue my dream to become a professional photographer who has works exhibited internationally. I did not know what would be my end, but I wanted to try hard and to try my best at it at least once in my life. I started learning photography again by myself, attended some workshops and an online course. I kept practicing. In the same year, I became a cruise ship photographer in the U.S., at Carnival Cruise Line, where I gained a lot of experience working with studio portraits and working with clients. I wanted to learn more about artistic aspects and creativity. So I came to New York City and now I am earning my master’s in photography at the School of Visual Arts. Here, I get to explore more types of photography and learn how to create a concept and story, as well as the photography business and exhibitions. Through my studies I have found that I want to become a fine art documentary photographer, although I still enjoy doing lifestyle portraits.

I would like to say that if you love photography or anything else, just do it, start today! You will not feel sorry for not doing it. Believe in yourself and your power! You may start with a small project for yourself. It does not need to be a big project that has a big impact on society. A small personal project that is important to you is a good start.

Finally, I like that photography can preserve memories and moments. I love capturing scenery of places I visit to keep as my personal treasures.

View Profile


 

VISIT STUDENTS OF STORYTELLING