Humans Of Seven Lakes: Mareena Emran


As a Freshman, I was really confused. I didn’t know what path I wanted to take and coming into high school is very overwhelming. You want to find your clique and where you belong. I thought about joining journalism and it became of the best things I could have ever done for myself. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I figured out that I enjoyed doing photography. First semester of sophomore year I hated taking photos. I looked at it as a burden and didn’t really understand composition rules or camera settings. I didn’t even really know how to work a camera. But there was this one time when I went to a soccer game with my former staff member, Laura Fouad. There was just so much action, and taking photos there made me feel an adrenaline rush- it’s so weird to say but it’s really true. I thought ‘okay, this isn’t so bad’. The next day in class, a couple of the soccer players asked to see the photos. I was shocked because I didn’t think anyone cared. I kept going to the games and grew a bond between the players and I saw my photos improve with every game. Being on staff, I was able to ask Mrs. K questions and compare my photos with other peoples’ photos, and from there, I was drawn in, and it clicked – literally.

Then, I began to shoot more photos. My main mediums are action shots and portraits. I can’t do event photography for my life; I think it takes more patience for event photography but with action, it’s so simple. You can tell more of a story with an action shot. When you shoot action or a portrait it’s more personal- it’s more from your view of the world. I don’t have a definitive style yet, but instead, I embrace my creative freedom. Even after two years of doing photography, I don’t know what my style is, but I know what I like to shoot and what I want to show people. It’s so hard to explain an image you see in your brain, but being able to take the photo and showing someone gives them a clear vision of what you see in the world. That’s why I think photography is my medium, and I’m so glad I found it.

My parents are my main support system. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have any of the equipment I have. Photography is expensive; most parents wouldn’t take their kids out to buy a thousand dollar camera, but I was fortunate enough to have a mom and a dad that support me. Especially with my mother being a makeup artist, I use my photography skills to my advantage because she meets with a lot of photographers and makeup artists who need photographers. Every time she would do makeup on a model, she would ask me to come with her to practice my photography. From there, I continued to grow because those models would ask me for those photos, post them and tag me on Instagram. Now I book gigs with models and do sports photography- two very different avenues. My mom was the one who let me express my creative freedom while my dad helped me picked out my equipment. Being Asian American, people sometimes look down on me for not fulfilling the stereotype and doing something in STEM. I’m not interested in STEM. I think photography is more interesting because it gives me the opportunity to share my different view of the world.

I want to pursue a career in journalism or communications, particularly public relations. Public relations is so versatile- you can do interviews, book gigs for people, or become someone’s personal publicist. What I do now is versatile. A combination of yearbook, newspaper, photography- I plan to take all my skills in my future career. I don’t believe there is anything at highest level professional because everyone is still learning. Photography will always be a field where there is gonna be something new coming around. There is never an endpoint to photography. And that’s why I love it so much.

I can’t thank my mentors enough. Simon Suen and Roman Rama will always and forever be the biggest influences in my life; they always believed in me when I doubted my abilities. My adviser, Mrs. K, always encouraged me to do my best in school and in the real world. I really couldn’t have done it without them.

My portfolio can be found on Instagram: @cherryicepix.