first_imgBy the start of her freshman year at Saint Mary’s, Elise deSomer (’17) said she knew she would be a professional photographer. DeSomer started her Michiana photography business, Elise Imagery, as a high school blog and has since transformed it into a full-fledged career specializing in portraits and unique artwork.  Having graduated from the College as the co-valedictorian of the class of 2017 and having been the recipient of departmental awards in art and English literature, Elise said she attributes much of her confidence to her Saint Mary’s education.  “I’m definitely not the same person I was before Saint Mary’s. I was very timid and non-assertive, which simply doesn’t work for photographing people. Saint Mary’s helped me gain the leadership skills necessary for directing clients during photo shoots,” deSomer said in an email.  “The intensity of art classes at SMC prepped me well for the fast turnaround clients expect for photography in the digital age. … Being an art major taught me how to conceptualize an idea in my head and then form it into reality.”  Like many other successful Belles, she said, deSomer received some help along the way.  “I never met a [Saint Mary’s] faculty member who didn’t change my life for the better in one way or another,” she said.  DeSomer credits Professor Krista Hoefle’s SISTAR grant creative research project in Object-Oriented Ontology, as well as advice from Aaron Moe of the English department and Douglas Tyler in the art department as integral influencers on her “direction in life as an artist and a person.”DeSomer’s work week is split between shooting and editing days, the latter taking about one to 30 days, depending on the scope of the project. “On shooting days, I wake up, sort and pack gear, and go wherever the client requests. My favorite part about shooting days is the spontaneity, the break from routine,” deSomer said.  She edits her work at home, starting the day at 8 a.m. with a cup of calming chamomile tea for focus and a brief meditation.  Daily migraines from a minor traumatic brain injury last fall keep deSomer from working on the computer for more than 40 minutes at time, so she manages this obstacle by interspersing her editing with housework and relaxation exercises.DeSomer said she works to create an environment that celebrates the intricacies of the human person.  She finds inspiration for portrait shoots from her clients, as well as from the landscape of the shooting space.“Many clients know exactly what they want, so we’ll make a collaborative Pinterest board to help us keep a clear creative vision,” deSomer said.  “We might have poses planned out carefully and then scrap them all in favor of spontaneous poses that fit better with the vibe of a location.”In the future, deSomer said she hopes to buy her own house, complete with lots of acreage for outdoor portraits.  She also said she hopes to branch out from portrait photography, and tackle more conceptual fine art photography and digital art for exhibitions.  Elise Imagery is expecting the launch of an entirely new website and online booking system, as well as hand-bound books for clients.Although deSomer graduated this past summer, she said she still feels very tied to the Saint Mary’s community.  “I never truly comprehended the reality of the ‘once a Belle, always a Belle’ mantra until after graduation. … As an alumna, I still turn to my fellow Belles when I need strong confident women to model for photographic projects,” she said.  DeSomer said she feels cautious using the word “sisterhood” to define the unique bond that Saint Mary’s students cultivate over their four years on campus, as she maintains that it can sound unwelcoming towards the LGBT members of the community.  “Semantics aside, I don’t think I would have found such a supportive network of soul sisters at a co-ed educational institution,” deSomer said.  “I love how Belles look out for each other, and I love looking out for other Belles, even more so now as an alumna.”  In making her love for photography and art marketable, deSomer said she has found a career path that combines her natural skills with her true passions.“Even if you don’t feel like you are good at anything, you absolutely are. You just might need to do some soul searching and hard work to find and develop the skills that will fulfill you professionally and personally,” deSomer said.  “You’re going to do amazing things no matter what. Don’t worry about the future too much. Sometimes you will feel like you are falling instead of flying, but falling is necessary for all the pieces that will fall into place with time, persistence and resilience.”Tags: Elise imagery, photography, SMC alumnalast_img read more

first_imgThe primary funding source for the Resource Center is the springtime operation of the Poppy Reserve gift shop benefiting the nonprofit Poppy Reserve/Mojave Desert Interpretive Association, which funds local state park educational programs and events, including the Tomo-Kahni Resource Center rental. The silent auction on March 10 was aimed at closing that funding gap. The silent auction featured a variety of local gift items and services, and competition was high for several items. Some highlights: Original Jane S. Pinheiro paintings that went for $450 and $150 (valued at $400 and $100); A hand-made poppy themed quilt that went for $350 (estimated value $300); Four California State Railroad Museum tickets for $60 (valued at $32); Paraffin Hand Treatment from Second Wind for $55 (valued at $20); Two Shambala Preserve Safari Tour tickets for $125 (valued at $70). The event also featured guided tours of the reserve, the appearance of exotic reptiles including an albino Burmese python and hors d’oeuvres provided by Costco and Vons. The Resource Center, located at 112 A East F Street in downtown Tehachapi, actively promotes information, school programs, and community workshops relating to Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park and the Kawaiisu Indians of Tehachapi. By working with the remaining descendents and elders of the Kawaiisu tribe, they have made tremendous contributions to the preservation of the Kawaiisu language and culture, such as publishing a dictionary of the Kawaiisu language. The Tomo-Kahni Resource Center can be visited Fridays & Saturdays, 12-4 p.m. Tomo-Kahni was the winter home of the Kawaiisu, and the remnants of their occupation are now preserved at Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park, available for visit by tour only during spring and fall. For more information or to make reservations for a tour, call the Mojave Desert Information Center at (661) 942-0662. To post your own stories and photos, log on to valleynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s benefit silent auction raised thousands of dollars for the Tomo-Kahni Resource Center of Tehachapi recently. More than $3,000 was raised for the Resource Center as 30 items went on the block, providing enough money for the center to operate through the end of the year. Organizers hope the auction funds, combined with income from the Poppy Reserve gift shop over the upcoming wildflower season, will be able to finance the reserve until the 2008 wildflower season, which supporters hope will be wetter. Last spring produced a disappointing poppy bloom, and this year’s could be even worse due to lack of rain. The resulting shortage of visitors to the reserve means less income. last_img read more