Tammy Nguyen: The Photographer
Freshman Tammy Nguyen’s love for photography can be seen from watching her take pictures from afar. Her eye captures scenes such as a lonely street light that makes you notice the gorgeous blue of the sky, a pair of converse on the dashboard of a car driving the roads at night and more concert pictures than you can count.
“I use my creative mind to relieve stress brought by school,” she said. “It is important to take care of myself mentally and photography does that for me.”
“She gets this focused look on her face when she’s using her camera,” freshman Isla Riddell said. “She really gets into it.”
Social Media Influencer
Nguyen shares her photos on her Instagram account [email protected] that has over 14,000 followers. She started posting her pictures when she was in sixth grade. Nguyen said her photos started being good in seventh and eighth grade.
And that’s when her follower amount started growing to the level it is today. Her feed consists mostly of concert pictures, photos of her travels and a few edgy pictures of shoes here and there. “I use my Instagram as my creative outlet,” she said.
Other than just the photography, Nguyen can express herself creatively by making sure her photos look good together on her page. “If my pictures look weird when they are beside each other then it’s going to bother me,” she said. Many of her friends note that she spends a long time making sure her feed is satisfying to the eye.
After a suggestion from her family, Nguyen began taking photos of people for special events such as athletics, prom or homecoming, birthdays, to earn money.
It started when she began to make herself known as a photographer and friends started asking her to take their pictures. “[At first] I didn’t charge people,” Nguyen said. “I saw photo shoots as practice for the future.”
Her price range is from $30-$100+ depending on the task and the time it takes.
Her family is a huge factor in her hobby. “I liked taking family photos, and I found cameras fascinating,” she said. “Then when I was 11 I realized what I truly loved to do.” Her dad bought her a camera for her 14th birthday and it’s been like another body part to Tammy since.
“My dad is very supportive of me,” she said. “When I asked for a camera, he was surprised at the prices for the good ones, but he said that he realized my talent and he knew I’d put it to good use.”
Nguyen grew up speaking Vietnamese, as that was the only language spoken in her household. Her dad came by boat to the United States in 1993 seeking a better future with more opportunities. She picked up English before going into elementary school by watching any cartoon that aired on tv. During elementary school, she had an English tutor for a few months that was fluent in Vietnamese.
Today, Tammy speaks perfect English, although she occasionally wrestles with grammar. After teaching herself English, she was able to also teach herself the art of photography, and show skill at it too. Her family also leans on her to do things like schedule appointments and other tasks that involve English.
“The pressure is definitely there when it comes to translating important information,” she said. “When there are documents my dad doesn’t understand then I try best to explain what it is in my native language.” Nguyen feels that helping people understand one another can be a lot, but that it’s nice to know how much her family needs her.
Nguyen uses her wide audience to promote causes she supports. She aims to inspire people to pursue their talents no matter what background they come from.
“I hope in some way that my work encourages people to
really take in the world around them,” she said.
In the future, Tammy hopes to create films and photos that will be recognized by big producers and work with them on projects.