Hidden Figures

By Staff Writer Daniela DeLorge

   Do you ever walk past people and wonder what is going on in their head, or where they are headed? While walking throughout the city on a hot afternoon, I've encountered many people that will never cross my mind after that day. They could be dealing with a tremendous amount of stress or problems, and we would never know.

   While on a school trip to Venice Beach, I decided to approach eye-catching random people to ask if I could take their portrait. A few rejected my offer or shied away after seeing me hold my DSLR. One lady who was taking a drag of her cigarette kindly told me "No thank you, I don't like getting my picture taken because I'm too awkward." The others were overjoyed that a stranger thought of them as worthy of getting their portrait taken for a project.

   I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable while I pointed my camera at them and kept the lens in their face for a prolonged amount of time, so I would start a conversation with them in an attempt to make them laugh. This resulted in their personalities shining through. "Don't worry about how long you take, we're like a restaurant, so take your time for the shot" said a menacing looking biker guy, covered in tattoos. He was someone who you would never think to approach, but he turned out to be the kindest person. Small things, small talk, these are the things that can make someone's day.

   People would approach me while I was taking pictures and ask if the people that I took pictures of were famous. I would shake my head no and tell them that some people could just use something to brighten their day., along with the knowledge that they aren't forgotten, even if it's just a high school student taking their picture.

Portraits Shot By Daniela DeLorge

   I've decided to look through this same lens on campus and focus on individuals that find conformity boring. As I pursued the photo shoot, I asked people about their preferences on the way the chose to be seen by others, "Society nowadays, in my opinion, I don't find it amusing at all... I was influenced by the 1900s with the 20s and 40s. Those decades I really enjoyed... and in the future I look to the classic lifestyle of the American Dream," said Olympian Angel Esquivel.

   It was clear that some Olympians also felt the they wanted to differ from today's society because it makes them feel more comfortable. "I was tired of fitting in... I wanted to be different and stand out from the crowd. I do't want to be in the social construct or normal things. That's why I chose to change my appearance. I want to be different," said Olympian Michael Mendias.

   To some, being different keep things interesting. According to Olympian Alexia Orosco, "If you see something too simple too often you grow tired of it. It's kind of cool to stand out from the crowd from time to time. When it comes naturally, it's better, instead of just forcing."

   "It's clear that the strangers I met and students here on campus have similar views on why they decide to be different from society. It's what makes them comfortable and happy in their own skin, regardless of what others think.