February 2022 is the month it all started. I was put in a photography class by accident, and that class was when my love for photography took flight. I was a sophomore in high school and before then I had never been that interested in photography. But after that semester I was hooked. We worked with fancy cameras, and it was an amazing, uplifting experience to take high-resolution artistic photos. After the course ended, I wasn’t sure what to do with all the ideas and inspiration I still had. I figured that I couldn’t take any more “actual” photographs because I no longer had a $5,000 camera. This course at the Yale Center for British Art taught me so much, but if I had to name the most important lesson I learned, it would be that photography doesn’t have to be done on fancy cameras, and my phone is as powerful an outlet as that expensive camera was.
I always try to keep my “photography brain” on when looking for inspiration to take photos. We see so much in our daily lives that it’s hard to remember that even something mundane I see every day can make an extraordinary photo. I try to look for buildings and landscapes that are particularly interesting, and I am always trying to catch candids of my friends. I think taking spontaneous photographs of people doing everyday tasks is truly revelatory. The message that I want people to take from my photographs is how wonderful even the smallest of things can be. Through unusual angles and getting close to my subject, I urge my viewers to look anew at ordinary people and places.
—Emaan Naqvi, Cheshire High School, 2024