By Diego Linares
The newly-formed Foto Club gives East Los Angeles College students a place to grow and network with other people looking to get into photography.
The group’s inception came this semester on the deadline of April 25, when they found out they were chartered by the Associated Student Union.
Club members spent weeks forming the club, filing proper paperwork, finding students to be a part of the club and finding activities to make the club interesting.
Club adviser Mike Tsai said that the club currently has the tools to boost morale, but the key is keeping the club going for incoming students.
“Having a place where students enjoy coming, and enjoy being a part of, was my goal since day one. When I first came to this department, it was a ghost town.
“I remember when I was in school. You couldn’t pry me away from the photo lab. The friendships that I made are lifelong friendships, and that’s what I want to see here,” said Tsai.
Melissa Marinero, club president, has taken the reins from the start and has become a model student others can look up to.
“It seems like they found a great leader. I think she single-handedly had the most impact and effect on the group.
“I’m sure it’s because of her leadership that people are willing to follow,” Tsai said.
Marinero and club treasurer Christian Arias both said that it was a long process to become chartered by ASU, but due to interest in the group, they went ahead and took the steps to become an official club.
Arias is a proponent of extra curricular activities and is working along club members to produce experiences beneficial to students.
“The department can only do so much, so we want to bring in that extra education, workshops (and) guest speakers.
“We’re trying to have a student exhibition show, not like the one from (the Vincent Price Art Museum), but strictly photography. So, hopefully students can get motivated,” Arias said.
Marinero said the gallery would be a way of instilling confidence in people who are taking photos for classes and not feeling like it’s just another homework assignment.
“You don’t take yourself seriously, because you don’t think it’s any good, or you don’t see what you can do with it outside of your class.
“You’re just treating it like an assignment, you’re not seeing the true potential it could have (when) showing it to other people, or getting critiqued. That’s an important part of getting better,” Marinero said.
This is the first time Marinero and Arias have been part of a club and both are working to push the learning curve along.
“We’re learning as we’re going, which is cool, because we don’t exactly know what we’re doing, but we’re learning. Other people give us feedback and we’re more prone to listen,” said Marinero.