NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

The struggles of the photography industry

Lance Hidy, director of the Art Design & Photography Department at Northern Essex, says low enrollment is causing photography classes to be cancelled.

“I wish there was a way students could spread the word,” Hidy says. As someone who has always had a passion for the arts, I would love to be able to take more photography courses, if only they would fill.

Hidy’s background has led him to have a lifelong passion for the arts. “As a child, I learned reading through comic books,” he said. “I would look at the pictures and that’s how I would figure out the storyline.”

Because of this, he started to read more and more about photography, as well as watching Disney animated movies and television shows.

NECC offers six courses in photography, and can also help students obtain internship opportunities in the field. Some of the internships offered are a yearbook company where a student gets to edit photos, community theatre where they get to experience taking real headshots. Some are even paid! I think this is an amazing idea, because photography is such a hard field to get into. Not only do you get to experience the real world, but network and gain connections that can help your future in the industry.

NECC student Lissangy Rodriguez has had a passion for photography since her sophomore year of high school.

“I had an absolutely phenomenal instructor named Brian Trainor, who made me start to see the world as an opportunity for art,” she said. “My sophomore year of high school I had friends that were graduating and in the need of senior portraits. . . They were incredibly dismayed they had to pay $200 for their portraits, so I then offered to take their photos, which made me realize that this is my true calling.”

Since then, Rodriguez has started her own photography business. The biggest struggle of obtaining a business is defending her price; some people tend to undervalue the craft, which can make it difficult to make a living.

“This is a strange cultural norm that makes some people believe art is not as valuable as it really is,” she said. As someone who is an artist and working on obtaining a sturdy organization, it’s one of the hardest jobs to keep steady customers and compromise on a reason price.

Rodriguez has grown her company by social media and word of mouth.

“I absolutely love making (my customers) all feel great about themselves,” she said. “I try to make every photoshoot an experience.”