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Ray Leyesa

Ray Leyesa or simply “Ray” as he wants to be called began his photography journey when his father bought a second-hand film camera from a friend. Not having the opportunity to pursue photography during his younger days due to affordability, one would say that photography is one of those things that as a parent he wishes one of his kids would pick up and become their passion.

Unused for a year or two, that film SLR just gathered dust and fungus prompting his father one day to say to Ray and his siblings as he came to the living room: "If you are not going to use the camera, I will return it back."

Those words triggered something in them, must have been their creative side or if truth be told, maybe they were just plain scared and so on that same day, they took the camera, its manual, and the rest as they say – is history.

So much so that in the late 90s, fresh from college and with his first paycheck, Ray bought rolls of film to practice and even sometimes, get his hands on expired rolls of film from stores in Hidalgo.

And though he enrolled in short courses, his photography career was mostly thru self-studying as he tried to gather and sought whatever information on photography was available online. Yes, there was already the internet during those days though not as fast nor as resource rich as it is now, but it still carried through for him a lot.

Like most people who started dabbling in photography, Ray began taking pictures of flowers, rocks, trees, sunrise, sunset, and even shoes. From there he slowly progressed to documenting events, festivals, and taking portraits. And again, like almost everyone else, he began to ask himself what he wants his photography to say.

After a few more years of continued practice, he realized that he tends to lean more towards documentation and tell stories through his camera lens. He admits that he still has a lot to learn, and that his photography journey is far from over.

And though he firmly believes that learning by practicing is one of the best ways to improve his craft, belonging to a group that shares your ideals and supports your continuous development is always a good thing to have.

He joined ALPHA Camera Club in 2021, and considering that even in just a year, he admits that consistently completing assignments, photo projects and attendance to online meetings helped him bounce back from the lock-down procrastination.

To future members of the club, here is what Ray has to share – “keep an open mind, learn at your own pace, keep that passion alive, and just enjoy photography”.

Ray holds a BA degree in Communication Research, and a Diploma in Photojournalism. He is currently employed as a Website Production Editor.

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