By Chris Nguyen
Click. Senior Loren Carlile captures a moment in time with her camera and knows that is it. That composition. That lighting. That perspective. It just works.
“It sounds so cheesy, but I can feel it,” Carlile said. “Like I know when a picture looks good, especially when I’m in it. I know what I look like and I guess what I’m trying to say is I kind of view things through a viewfinder – I guess I just have natural viewfinder – and so I can just tell when there is a good photograph there.”
It is a skill and talent that is all the more impressive when considering Carlile just seriously picked up photography in the past few years and, in the process, carved herself a career.
Sophomore year, Carlile took photojournalism and learned the basics of photography, but more than that, discovered a passion. Despite the course being her only formal training, she became editor-in-chief for this year’s Round-Up yearbook after being a staff photographer last year.
“Yearbook just makes me happy,” Carlile said. “Taking pictures, storing memories. It’s just really fun.”
She has dedicated herself to the task and brought stylistic touches to this year’s book.
“Everyone who I asked who should be editor—her name was brought up a lot,” Round-Up advisor Rachel Pelligrino said. “She has been up to the task. She’s relatable, friendly but also strong in her decisions.”
But photography extends beyond the school walls for Carlile by taking on commercial photography projects and portraits that has steadily done business, especially with senior pictures. In addition, she sells prints of her photos that she takes in her free time.
On any given day, Carlile is out, sometimes with the assistance of friends and family, taking photos with some preconceived concept yet to live up to its inspiration as she shoots. Her portfolio includes self-portraits to conceptual work revolving around cocoons.
“I think she sees something so many of us don’t see,” Loren’s mom Laurie said. “She creates beauty out of the ordinary. I can give you one example of when she took a photo of me in a white gown with a bunch of leaves around me and I just wasn’t sure what she was going for. But the shoot, the lighting and editing, it was gorgeous. She has a way to enhance everything.”
The whole process has been aided by the website Flickr, which she opened after seeing a friend open one, as well. There she post pictures alongside photographers from around the world and has even formed connections to them.
“[Flickr is] really addicting, not just to take pictures but to look at pictures,” Carlile said. “It makes you want to become better when you look at someone else because when you look at someone else’s art and you’re like, ‘Wow, that inspires me, I want to do something like that’. Flickr really helped me grow and come into my own and my own style.”
The site also provided her with her biggest break this past year: a photo picked up by Urban Outfitters.
Carlile took a picture on the whim of knee socks and posted it on Flickr. It caught the eye of the T-shirt company Oh Snap! And, soon enough, made its way into the retailer Urban Outfitters, which decided to make a wall hanging of the picture. So far, she has made about $1,000 off of the photo.
“That’s just the biggest thing that has happened to me,” Carlile said. “Unfortunately, they spelled my name wrong on the picture, but I still feel like it’s the biggest accomplishment.”
Although having a picture being sold around the nation is enough for most, Carlile has continually sought to improve upon her skills, even branching into other visual mediums such as film. After graduation, Carilie plans to attend Texas State University and major in photography, hoping to open her own gallery. But, for the time being, Carlile has formed a comfortable spot in photography and has made it all just click.