• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Mass Communication
  • HOMETOWN: Honolulu, Hawaii

Steven Yang

Steven Yang was 12 when he began to focus on landscapes — literally. Inspired by his father's photography books, he picked up a camera and began snapping photos of nature in his native Hawaii. He used a Nikon EM, a single-lens reflex camera dating to the 1980s that was given to his mother by his father as a wedding gift.

Years later, working now as a professional photographer for Purdue Marketing and Media while he completes his studies, Steven is still using the lens that came with his first camera. You could say he's hard at work channeling his family love of photography and making history while he makes news.

A picture is worth ...

"I chose to major in mass communication because I feel that when you cut photography down to its core, to its very fundamentals, it is simply a visual means of communication," Steven says. And communicate he does, sharing his photos via Instagram and on his blog.

Island boy

Talk about interesting life experiences. Raised in Honolulu, Steven spent three years in Las Vegas before heading to Purdue with his best friend. "I wanted to go to a well-respected university, and out on the West Coast everybody has a very good impression of Purdue," he explains.

On the job

Steven didn't waste time putting his camera to work when he arrived at Purdue — he became a staff photographer for The Exponent during his freshman year, then its photo editor, and is now working as a photo assistant for Purdue's Office of Marketing and Media.

These days he is mainly taking portraits of students and faculty, though his favorite assignments are sporting events because of the challenge they pose. He doesn't plan on a career as a sports photographer, but he's sure the lessons learned will carry over to any subject he photographs in the future.

"Sports assignments are fast-paced and unpredictable, making it a challenge to follow with a camera. You're always trying to think a split second ahead of the action, and relying on your intuition to react accordingly. I consider the football field and the basketball court as a sort of proving ground for me as a photographer."

Picture perfect

With the speed of growth of digital media, he sees photography rapidly evolving, but there will always be a place for professional photographers:

"Thanks to advancements in digital photography and the growth of the Internet, more and more people have access to photography and have the ability to share their photos. Some worry that this proliferation of photography will dilute photography, but I think it will lead to a larger audience for photographers in the future. It may make it harder for emerging photographers to stand out, but great photography will always grab the attention of the masses."