MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Westlake High School graduate Julia Specht's love of photography has led to a special moment at the close of her senior year with some her best work on exhibit at The Framing Gallery in Hawthorne.
Specht, who fell in love with photography as a child, did her senior internship in the photo field but was not expecting to have her own public show. Her work went on display Tuesday, June 24 at the local gallery and will be on exhibit through the week.
"My interest in photography began at about 7 years old when my dad bought me a small, plastic digital camera," Specht said. "I would always carry it around taking photos of whatever I saw. In high school, I took photography in my sophomore year, which included both digital and darkroom photography."
Specht continued her study of photography in her junior and senior years before getting her internship this year and finding her way from the digital world to the darkroom, where she learned the entire process and creative aspects of the art.
"With my digital camera, I usually just take quick photos of things that catch my eye, and are of interest to me," she said. "I also use my iPhone if I come across something interesting and I don't have my camera on me."
Specht said her film photographs, which are in the exhibit, are completely unique. She said the darkroom has become a second home and offers a peaceful space and wrote her college essay about her love of the darkroom.
"I kept working at it and I eventually started to love it," she said. "It is not simple, but I love a challenge. I try my best to perfect each of my photos."
Specht said her favorite subjects are people. She uses a Nikon Single Lens Reflex camera and found added inspiration from photographer Brandon Stanton and his Humans of NY project that has grown into a popular blog and book.
"Behind each face is a story, and that is what I find so interesting and inspiring," Specht said. "I absolutely love taking portraits, especially of my younger sister, Emily. I love capturing her innocence. She was my inspiration to take more portraits of different people."
Headed to the Loyola University in Maryland, Specht plans to major in business, but will take photo classes and plans to join the photo club where she will continue perfecting her art.