Sophomore Cannon explores realm of photography


Jennifer Lorenzo

Oscar Cannon gets into shooting mode in front of one of his cameras.

Lily Rachwalski

While people have become less dependent on photographers due to high-quality phone cameras, sophomore Oscar Cannon explores the world through the lens of a Vivitar P5, his favorite camera.

Cannon has been taking pictures and playing with cameras since he was a toddler thanks to the guidance and support of his mother Holly Painter, who is a professional photographer herself.

“My mom’s a photographer; so, I’ve been really exposed to cameras and the creative aspect of photography since a young age,” Cannon said. “Camera, film and Photoshop have been something that’s come really naturally to me.”

Painter says she has always encouraged her son’s creativity and artistic talent.

“He’s always been very creative,” Painter said. “From a very young age, I had him in drawing classes, and he was really big into writing and making books.” 

She also exposed him to cameras at a young age, starting with a cheap camera that wouldn’t be a problem if it was ruined. 

Oscar Cannon plays with a camera at 6 years old. (Courtesy of Oscar Cannon)

“I’ve always had cameras with me as I’m a photographer myself,” Painter said. “And, so, I made sure to have a camera for him, even if it was just, you know, not a nice camera, just like a 30 or 50 dollar camera, that, if he destroyed it, I wouldn’t be upset about it being ruined.”

The camera, according to Painter, has also served as a tool for Cannon to connect with others and make friends, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After COVID, the camera served as a way for him to start a conversation and make friends,” Painter said.

Cannon said photography is about way more than just taking pictures, and it takes a while to turn the hobby into an art. 

“It’s not just about taking the picture, it’s about you representing your eyes through these photographs,” Cannon said. “Anybody can take a photograph, it’s developing your artistic eye that has the most meaning when you’re trying to become a true artist, which takes a long time, so I think I just started shooting nonstop to see well, what is my eye?”

Cannon’s love for photography and exploration for his “eye” has also inspired him to experiment with different styles and techniques. 

“I like candids and classic portraits a lot, but I also enjoy a good creative photoshoot,” Cannon said. “I like to be able to see emotion in photos, so, I try to capture what I’m feeling in that specific moment. Most of the times I take really good photos are when I’m either happy and laughing or really at-ease and chill.”

Cannon believes his “eye” is heavily dependent on his mood, and that his eye is best when he’s in a good mood. 

“The laughter and the moments that are trapped and preserved in the photo; that’s what makes them so fun and meaningful,” Cannon said.

Cannon’s drive and dedication to photography has caught the attention of his mother and has sparked his ambition to become a professional photographer in the future.

Sophomore Marlee Connely and Cannon have a photoshoot. (Courtesy of Oscar Cannon)

“He’s very driven, and he’s got an obsession that would work in that world,” Painter said. “He has a drive to learn the equipment and the tools of the trade and mastering the technique, and that kind of thing, which is really what you need in order to succeed.”

Painter also said Cannon has many more options than just a photographer to explore. 

“You know you can work in movies; you can you can work in fashion; there’s so many different opportunities now for photographers than when I was searching for my career path,” Painter said.

As Cannon looks to his adult life, he sees himself pursuing photography professionally. 

“Photography is what I see for myself in my future,” Cannon said. “Even if I try, I can’t really see myself being happy doing anything but taking photos.”

In the near future, Cannon hopes to host a show featuring his photography at school or another venue. 

“I’m taking a bunch of photos that are related to a theme and I’m gonna try to submit to a contest or show at the end of the school year,” Cannon said. “I’m at the beginning stages of researching and finding themes right now, but I love the idea of my photos being displayed for people to look at and think about. I also think it would be cool to get a collective group of Midtown High School student photographers, and to have them display all their work together. It would be a really cool way to showcase Midtown students’ artwork.”