Third-generation multimedia student learns inexpensively

In an industry where the flashiest cameras and most expensive editing software separate the professionals from the dreamers, Beni Marquez is determined to beat the best of the best photographers, albeit on a shoestring budget.

A love for photography and cinema has been with 16-year-old Beni all his life. His grandfather enjoyed photography as a hobby, and his father attended film school.

The spark that really lit the wick, however, was the pandemic.

“There wasn’t much to do,” he said, so he turned to cameras and post-production software as the world went into lockdown.

This boredom eventually turned into a passion for photographing wildlife and street scenes, creating video effects, and editing music and video together. More recently, he became interested in the development of film photos.

The skills required to create works like these come from knowledge acquired through hours of online research as well as trial and error. Without a mentor in real life, he has to solve problems on his own, which can be time-consuming and difficult.

His father, who long ago left cinema and camera techniques, gives him his thoughts here and there. He already knows a lot of what Ida B. Wells High School’s multimedia curriculum teaches, he said.

“OK, that’s kinda easy,” the sophomore said, recalling a photography class at his school in Portland.

So Beni, who also works at an ice cream shop, had to create her own opportunities to pursue her passions.

The school offers access to a darkroom for film development. But with school out for the summer, Beni and her classmate Zoe Toperosky lost access to it for three months, and they were unable to develop the film stills they had recently taken.

However, ambition does not wait for school to begin. They MacGyvered their own darkroom in Zoe’s bathroom.

With the budget of a part-time ice cream scoop and the determination of a kid with a dream, Beni partnered with Zoe to purchase the necessary chemicals and equipment, telling Zoe’s family that ” they absolutely can’t go” into their bathroom while the two were working or risk ruining the movie, Zoe said.

After hunching over a cramped, dark tub for an hour, Beni and Zoe emerged with 36 frames of film, both of which were worth the time and effort.

It’s an impressive feat of engineering, but not something a serious photographer can afford to undertake every day.

Beni plans to study a multimedia-related field at university and hopes that the teaching there will delve deeply into camera techniques and the post-production aspects of photography and videography in a way that his own current self-education can not. to bring.

– Ellen Dong, McMinnville High School

This story was produced as part of the High School Journalism Institute, an annual collaboration between The Oregonian/OregonLive, Oregon State University and other Oregon media organizations. For more information or to support the program, go to

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