Pooja Tripathi has always had a feel for the camera. Realizing her talent for conceptual photography in elementary school, she quickly climbed through photography class at Davis High and summer programs such as CSSSA to further her career.
Tripathi is a finalist in the 2014 YoungArts program in photography, a national foundation that seeks to nurture and teach the next generation of literary, performing and visual artists through workshops, scholarships and classes with internationally renowned artists. Of 11,000 applications, 687 artists from 46 states were selected as finalists; others were listed as honorable mention or merit finishers.
Tripathi attended a weeklong workshop in Miami on Jan. 6-12, where she learned from various distinguished artists such as Rita Moreno and Ted Ty, while beginning to appreciate other forms of art through the influence of her peer photographers at YoungArts week.
“I’ve really loved the chance to be around other artists my age, so I hope I can remain a part of this community and keep growing from it,” Tripathi said. “It has made me really eager to work, to expand and to improve.”
Traveling to Miami has allowed Tripathi to see the other aspects of her trade. After collaborating using vastly diverse styles of photography and exchanging current events about the art industry, Tripathi feels much more confident in her possible career path as an artist.
“I learned really quickly that I am not very familiar with what’s going on with current artists. I want to fix that,” Tripathi said.
Her photography teacher Theodore Fontaine recalls her unique camera work, which included a project about Hindu gods for the AP exam. Fontaine believes that her clear drive and focus set her apart from the rest.
“She’s a good student, and she’s always been hard-working and creative,” Fontaine said. “She has intelligent work. As in she didn’t just have random images, she had a good idea and focus.”
Drawing her inspiration from her desire to show the audience the new and unexpected, Tripathi not only utilizes photography but poetry and drawing as well. Her multifaceted approach to art is attributed to her family, who gave her an early bridge into the aesthetic world.
“I really like conceptual photography … the challenge is figuring out how to visually represent an idea or convey an emotion,” Tripathi said.
Having toyed with her cousin’s point-and-shoot camera as a child and modeled for her artist mother’s photographs, Tripathi is deeply familiar with art, and finds solace in it.
“Art helps me purge my thoughts, whether that’s through photography or poetry or a drawing. I feel that writing is the fundamental art form — if I’m brainstorming for a photo project, I’ll first write a lot about it and try to reach a poignant idea. It gives me something to work from. Photos are a lot like visual poems,” Tripathi said.
Her sister, sophomore Maya Tripathi, has seen her mediums of art develop and shift through the years. A fan and sometimes critic of her work, Maya appreciates the immense talent her sister has fostered.
“She has an inherent talent in communicating sentiments through her photography, particularly through a deadpan self-portrait,” Maya said.
Pooja Tripathi was chosen out of hundreds for her talent in photography. She considers the opportunity an important experience that has helped further her idea of the expression of art.
“When YoungArts contacted me, of course I was psyched! I’m down for any opportunity to be around other artists and create,” Pooja Tripathi said. “The people leading the photography program are all unbelievably talented and huge inspirations to me, as are the other finalists in my discipline. We all have really different styles and seeing their work is awesome. I’m getting a better sense of how to take a meaningful photograph.”
As a result of her classes, Pooja Tripathi has taken an interest in art curating, or the process of taking an artist’s work and presenting it through her own eyes. She hopes to put her new knowledge and memories to use as she heads back home.
“This week, I’ve noticed that everyone here is taken seriously. It’s a huge honor to begin with — national recognition for our work — but it continues with all the professional classes, talks and showcases. So many impressive and skilled people are guiding this program. YoungArts really exposes teenage artists to the world beyond and prepares them to be successful,” Pooja Tripathi said.