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Aspiring student photographer finds love for art at late age

Chris+Peterson%2C+39%2C+photography+major%2C+takes+landscape+photos+during+his+day+off+from+school+on+April+29.+Photo+credit%3A+Sue+Hong
Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, takes landscape photos during his day off from school on April 29. Photo credit: Sue Hong

Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, takes landscape photos during his day off from school on April 29. Photo credit: Sue Hong

Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, takes landscape photos during his day off from school on April 29. Photo credit: Sue Hong

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It doesn’t matter if the subjects he sees are beautiful, artistically stunning or mesmerizing, Chris Peterson just want take photos that are interesting.

Peterson, 39, found his love doing photography at the late age of 37. Peterson always had an interest in photography but didn’t give it a shot until later on his life.

“I’ve always wanted to do something creative,” Peterson said. “I had wanted to get into (photography) for a long time, but just didn’t commit the time or more money to invest for a digital single-lens reflex camera.”

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Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, shows the photo he took of dj trevor/tbz at House of Blues. Photo credit: Sue Hong

His first ever digital camera was back in 1998, which was a point and shoot camera, and at the time was two megapixels. Later on he eventually bought his first digital single-lens reflex camera and started looking up YouTube videos, and other helpful sources to learn more about photography.

“I watched hundreds of YouTube videos, and any useful video I could find on the internet on everything from posing to lighting to retouching in Photoshop,” Peterson said. “The more I learned the more I really started to love doing it.”

Soon after gaining knowledge from the internet, he decided to gather more information from college. He took Photography 101 at El Camino College with professor Mike Quinn.

When it comes to styles in photography, Peterson would shoot anything that seems interesting to him. Styles such as landscapes, concert photography, and car photography are some that are interesting to Peterson. But the one he loves doing the most is artistic portraits.

“I like the creative process,” Peterson said. “It’s the costumes, the look, the lighting, and the post-processing. It’s just a really creative process.”

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Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, captures a picture of zombie snow white, model Kelsey Zukowski, 27, during a photoshoot on May 2. Photo credit: Sue Hong

One of Peterson’s biggest accomplishments was even featured as the Photo of the Day on Sony’s digital camera website titled: Bixby Creek Bridge.

“The photos they feature are so awesome. I was super stoked to be featured,” Peterson said.

Although he’s been self-taught, photographers such as Zack Arias, Jay Maisel, and Joe McNally are all inspirations to Peterson, and are great sources of learning material.

Crystal Vaitkus is a photographer and an assistant for Peterson on shoots at events and weddings. She talked about working with Peterson, and sees a great future for the photographer.

“Chris is inspiring to work with. He respects an honest opinion and that I admire,” Vaitkus said. “If he continues to hone his craft and keep his stellar work ethic, he will accomplish amazing things.”

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Chris Peterson, 39, photography major, shows one of his pictures from a photoshoot. Although he’s a self taught photographer, Chris says he enjoys learning and doing hands on assignments from his photography classes. Photo credit: Sue Hong

Peterson is currently taking Professor Darilyn Rowan intermediate-level photography class. Rowan spoke highly of Peterson and his photographs.

“Chris is an excellent student; producing photographs that are technically accomplished and visually striking and poignant,” Rowan said. “He is focused and extremely hardworking, and fully capable of achieving his professional goals.”

Peterson will have his image of a jellyfish up in the Photography Department Annual Student Photography Exhibit: “Water” in the Schauerman Library through the end of May.

“I want people – as they are looking through countless images – to stop at mine and spend a few more seconds looking at them,” Peterson said.

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Aspiring student photographer finds love for art at late age