Lab technicians express art through photography

Perla Lara

Lab technicians, to students, to artist to showcase the multiple roles that a person has is seldom easy to do.

This year with one exhibit titled La Ayuda, the help. The six photography lab technicians joined together to showcase their art; for everyone who attended the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar event to see.

The six photography lab technicians at Cerritos College not only help answer student questions, but create their own art; four of the six photography lab technicians talk about their art and experience working in the photography lab.

The display offered a personal and intimate look at the artist side of the photography lab technicians.

Some chose to capture and share a difficult moment in their lives, others made political and cultural statements with their work.

Artist, Fine Arts major Alice Romero has been working as a photo lab technician for four years for her it is not a job it is something fun that helps keep her sane.

She said, “It’s a lot of fun, I love doing it. I used to drive from Rancho Cucamonga to here to do it so I like it.”

Seeing the moment when students understand a concept or new technique is her favorite part of being a lab technician.

“The moment when people get something you can see it. They go from having a hard time to all of a sudden understanding; and they’re able to do it on their own; it’s rewarding.”

Being around students, seeing their work allows Romero to see her own photographs with a fresh perspective.

Romero like the other photography lab technicians are more than staff they are artists that channel their life experiences into creating meaningful art.

Romero has taken one semester off from school to take care of her sister during her sister’s struggle with an illness.

The photographs she chose to share during the FAR Bazaar event were of her sister’s stay in the hospital. In one a portrait her naked back was shown in another photograph her sister is walking in the hospital hooked up to an IV.

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Artist and photo lab technician Alice Romero’s photograph of her sister’s stay in the hospital, displayed during the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar. Romero took time off from school to take care of her sister but continued to work on her art, and work as a photo lab technician, both of things she said she loves doing. Photo credit: Perla Lara


As Romero plans to continue being a lab technician as she works on her art, resumes her classes toward obtaining a masters degree

and reaching her goal of becoming a teacher.

Other artist made political and cultural statements with their work.

Lab technician, Fine Arts major, Deanna Jessica Saucedo, chose a feminist theme in her black and white portrait of a woman wearing a white shirt a sombrero and two bullet belts crossed over her shoulders titled Revolucion.

The second piece she shared is a color photograph of a woman covering her face with her hands. The photograph is titled November 9, 2016. A political piece recording the woman’s reaction to the news that Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Both photographs are part of a series that she is currently developing.

She said, “They were both taken at different times, they give the more feminist female role trying to create a revolution while being saddened by Trump’s election [win]. They both relate to what’s currently happening in the media with america right now.”

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Artist and photo lab technician Deanna Jessica Saucedo’s photographs displayed during the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar, the top photograph is titled “November 9, 2016” and the bottom photograph is titled “Revolucion.” Saucedo chose to portray strong female figures to reflect the current social and political times; both photos are part of a series she is currently developing. Photo credit: Perla Lara
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Artist and photo lab technician Deanna Jessica Saucedo standing next to her photographs displayed during the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar. The theme for her work was strong female figures. Photo credit: Perla Lara

With women’s rights being the center of attention she wanted to show a strong female figure; and capture the somber mood she saw on Nov. 9.

Maybel Valenzuela, Fine Arts major, has known the photographers throughout her three years as a student.

“I’ve worked with Saucedo with her work last semester. I worked with all the photographers that are in here and they’re all great photographers;” and described all the lab technicians’ work as amazing.

She also said, not only are they there to help out if you have trouble or a question with all the mechanical and technical aspects of both digital and film photography, but they also inspire her own work.

Sergio Peña undecided major has been a lab technician for one year, for him the best part of the job is being around like minded individuals.

He likes seeing the students ideas and feeding his own creativity with them. He also likes to be able to see the students work and share his own.

Peña said, “I like to do portraits, […] the little smile, the little smirk when they think of that memory I like to capture that, when it shows on their face.”

For Juan Manuel Valenzuela, lab technician and Fine Arts major, his work is about self identity, specifically his identity as a “first born mexican from immigrant parents.”

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Artist and photo lab technician Juan Manuel Valenzuela’s self-portrait work titled “El Frijolero” displayed during the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar. Valenzuela’s art focuses on identity; he plans to create mix media art with photography and the theme of identity as large components of his art. Photo credit: Perla Lara

He has worked as a lab technician for six years while still working on his own art photographs.

Working with instructors that are also working artist themselves is another benefit that he sees in being a lab technician and it’s one of his favorite things about the job.

He said, “It’s one of the things I like best because you get a lot of feedback from all the instructors. I like working with all the different instructors because you get to pick their brain.”

He also enjoys working with students he said helping students feels good and, “Students also sometimes inspire ideas.”

In his future work he will continue to explore the struggle of culture, identity as a child of immigrant parents and his own experiences, “You struggle with identity, you won’t be who they want you to be, but you know they kind of don’t want you to be who you want to be.”

Culture identity is what drives and will continue to drive Valenzuela’s work as he explores photography and mixed media pieces in his future artwork.

Fine Arts major Andre Atlas Roldan has worked with all of the photo lab technicians and describes his interaction with them as, “very genuine, they are really easy to get along with and easy to talk to […] if you have questions or want to know something they are very approachable.”

Because of all the things he has learned from the lab technicians he considers them to be instructors; “They are really knowledgeable about almost everything that we need to do here.”