Ydalmi Estrella Testimonial

Alicia Hansen - Thursday, May 10, 2012
SALT Student for 3 years. 
Student at Stockton Community College

My name is Ydalmi Argentina Estrella, and I am seventeen years old. I have been studying photography for about three years. It all began when I went on a website called Model Mayhem. Before photography, I wanted to pursue a career in modeling. I would try to set up photo shoots so I could build a portfolio, but I was not successful. On this website, I was inspired by the pictures some of the photographers captured, and thought to myself, "photography might be my calling". 

I decided that I wanted to go from being in front of the lens to behind the lens where I have an opportunity to capture wonderful occurrences in life. After that day, I picked up an old Minolta film camera I had lying around my house, and began shooting. It was a great camera, but after a while, developing the photos became costly. I decided to go online and look for a good camera I could buy that wasn't too expensive. I found a Nikon D40 for $450, and by saving some money every week from my two jobs I managed to buy the camera. Ever since that day, I have been carrying that camera with me everywhere I go. 

Before photography, I felt lost. I did not know what I wanted to do in life. Everyone would always ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", and I’d give a blank stare. With my camera, I've gotten the opportunity to capture pictures that I’d never thought I’d be capable of. I was able to prove to everybody that I could actually be good at something. 

I enjoy taking pictures of open spaces, scenery, abstract nature, and rising models. I could be just about anywhere and take captivating photographs. I consider myself an amateur in photography simply because of the fact that I have so much more to learn. However, I am very proud of my work, and very confident that it can take me far. 

In my NYC Salt program, I’ve gotten the opportunity to gain the confidence in myself I never knew existed. I’ve sold my work and have become rather comfortable speaking in front of a large audience. I am extremely proud and grateful to be a part of such an amazing program. Not only have I developed my photography skills because of this program, but I have also learned how to lose the fear of approaching strangers, learned valuable lessons on how to be professional, learned how to work in a team, and so much more. This program has exposed me to so many great things such as getting scholarships to participate in a photography program at my dream school. 

This previous summer I was given the opportunity to attend the SPI Advanced photography program at Syracuse University. In the limited time I was there, I met some amazing people and experienced many wonderful moments. Our photography teacher for the week, James Kenney, taught me a valuable lesson that I carry with me to this very day. Kenney taught me that not everyone is going to like my work, but despite this, to never give up. This program allowed me to expand my horizon on the various types of photography out there and just go for anything I set my mind to. This program also gave me a gist of what the college life was like, and I loved every single minute of it.

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