Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Q & A with Photographer John Anthony Rosa ’21

AMANDA LAFFERTY ’21

A&E EDITOR


When did you first get into photography and why?

Most people will say that the first “real time” I got into photography was Junior year of high school. But in all sincerity, that’s not really true. I actually first started when I went on exchange in Berlin, Germany. As a Sophomore in high school, I was allowed to study in Germany because I was taking German at the Waldorf School. I had a German kid, named Hendrik, live with me for four months and then I was allowed to study in Germany for another four. When I was in Berlin I tried snapping pictures on a pretty basic Nikon Coolpix camera that my dad had bought me for my birthday. It was my first real camera that I had other than my GoPro. I decided to take it to Berlin because I wanted to document my travels. Before then, I had never left home for more than a few weeks for summer camp. Going to a whole other country and not speaking a single word of German was pretty daunting – so I wanted to take pictures of the city and people I met. Unfortunately, my camera was stolen so anything that I took on it I can’t really show anyone – ever.

That’s when I realized that images are just memories captured in time and by having those “memories” of mine stolen, this struck me as a photographer. Since then, I’ve enjoyed making those moments for others and I try to take my cameras everywhere I go. Now I’m usually that kid that walks around with his camera.

Later in high school, I reintroduced myself to photography but this time I bought a film camera, a Canon AE-1. After having some of my first photos developed, it sparked something else in me seeing those pictures. What I didn’t realize until getting my first developed roll is that getting behind the camera allows you to see things differently and allows you to meet new people. It’s great being a photographer because it brings smiles to peoples faces when they see their pictures.

Who are some of your favorite photographers/artists and how have they influenced your work?

I would say that my favorite digital photographers are Bleeblu, Geo Soto, and Derrick Freske. They are so vastly different but each of them has influenced me in the way I often position my subjects and even how I edit my pictures.

What else do you do besides photography (in general or other artistic ventures)?

I used to have a passion for writing short stories in middle school, but as I got older, school got in the way of writing so I sort of stopped. And studying engineering hasn’t really helped that at all. I have about 12 chapters of a book I wrote that’s quite funny to read now because of how silly it was. I have so many chapters and editions written for that and I would love to finish writing it but I just don’t have the time, unfortunately.

I’ve started to get into videos and the whole video editing process. I made a very amateur short video of my trip to Rhode Island this summer featuring my little sister, Sofia. But I’m still learning.

And if I’m not taking pictures I’m usually listening to German Rap; German Rap and foreign raps, in general, are so good. My favorite two German songs are “Was du Liebe Nennst” by Bausa and  “Einmal um die welt” by Cro, who’s a guy who wears a panda mask. They’re both about love but from very different perspectives. “Was du Liebe Nennst” is about a guy who sings about a girl begging for her to give him any sort of affection or love and even though he knows the love he receives is not genuine, it offers him comfort for one night.

Why did you select the specific photos below to be featured?

I selected these images because most of these are the first images I took as a photographer. The first four are film and the ones after are digital. As for the digital, a lot of time and effort goes into post-production – or the editing on Lightroom. It’s not like I’ll snap a picture, slap a VSCO “filter” on it, and then upload straight to Instagram. I use to have a very dark color scheme, but over time I’ve tried to have the colors have more of a “pop” to them. Derrick Freske definitely influenced these pictures because his are very colorful and each one stands out to you. I am especially proud to love the one I did of my friend William. My favorite photographer somehow managed to see it and liked it on Instagram, which is another reason why it’s so special to me.

I chose these specifically not only because they are my first photographs, but because not many people have seen these earlier photographs.

How do you hope to continue with photography after Trinity?

I hope to just take pictures of my friends and continue to make memories for others. And I do genuinely hope to meet new people and make friends while I am at it. I love meeting new people from all different background and though I may seem like a shy ghost at first, don’t let that fool you. When I meet people I try my best to move past small talk and find some common ground because I’d like to think once we both move past awkward first encounters that everyone hates to get through, I’m sure we’d find some common interests to discuss.

Unfortunately, I recently broke my camera and have had to put everything about photography on hold, but that does not mean that I am stopping for good. I think it worked out for the best because I was in a major creative slump right up until my camera broke; I carried around with me for roughly two years everywhere. Now that I don’t have it anymore it’s a bit strange because I have many new ideas that come to me. I’m hoping to collaborate with the people I promised once I get a new camera. Stay tuned.

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