Rose Hills Overlook by Shane Toomey
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Senior, Photography
Photography Merit Scholarship $2,000
Online Portfolio

What kind of work are you excited to make next?

I have fallen in love with teaching. I have also realized that my photographs are in a documentary context, and I plan on continuing to document my experiences and interests. I am going to use teaching as a tool to integrate myself into global communities. All great documentary works come from first having a community built. Teaching is what will allow me to build that community.

This summer, I plan on volunteering to teach and to do some ecological work in Thailand. During the trip, I will bring a medium- or large-format film camera and document the trip. The body of work I have envisioned will explore sustainable living methods and also add to my portfolio of worldwide teaching strategies. 

What are your hopes/goals for your senior year? And beyond?

I'm hoping to make the best out of my nine months spent in Minneapolis during my senior year. I am going to work hard to involve myself in the art community. A solo exhibition is a goal of mine.

After graduation, my plan is to move to rural Japan as a part of the JET (Japenese Exchange and Teaching) program. I'm going to use the time to reflect and grow spiritually. I will also use this time to save money. I don't know how long I want to live out there. I'll just go when the time feels right.

After Japan, I'm going to move back to Southern California. I'm currently residing in LA as a part of the AICAD Exchange program, and I'm in love. I plan on receiving my Teaching Certificate for K-12 in California. To my surprise, arts education in California public education is basically non-existent. It will be really hard to find a job as an art teacher, but that's exactly why I need to do it. One of my major goals in life is to bring art where it isn't. When I found out about California's funding for arts education, I heard a call to action.

Teachers are superheroes. They really are. I see the passion and force that educators possess, and I aspire to do the same. 

Best thing you ever got on the free shelf?

A bunch of vintage cameras!!!!! Only one of them works and it's a Super Ricohflex waist-finder medium-format. I shoot with it when I'm going for a vintage aesthetic. All the photos look as old and dusty as the camera itself! I love it!

Current obsession?

Saber Magazine.