In a quiet backyard, a vibrantly colored hummingbird flaps its wings, darting from one side of a flower patch to another. Brandon Sağlam, then in first grade, snaps a photo with his made-for-children camera.
That’s when a lifelong passion first developed.
“Later, in sixth grade, I grabbed my dad’s DSLR and took photos of hummingbirds in my backyard,” he recalled. “I used those to win my first competition through my [middle] school.”
Now, as a freshman at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Brandon is still chasing hummingbirds. He draws inspiration from Animal Planet and National Geographic documentaries he used to watch growing up—instead of superheroes or fictional characters frequenting his TV screen, it was shots of wildlife.
“When it comes to wildlife, I want to shock people,” he said. “I like to see this glow of curious awe, which I would get when looking at National Geographic magazines when I was little.”
Now, he’s exploring the world of portrait photography.
“There is something very personal about portrait photography and getting to know the other person,” Brandon told Aspirants. “I've actually had the most fun shooting my own version of Humans of New York, which I called People of Redlands.”
The photographer is from Highland, California—a city with stark differences from his current home, which is about 700 miles north along the Pacific Coastline. Change, though it might be scary for many, is something the creative is looking forward to.
“I am excited about getting to focus on my interests and meeting people who share the same passions,” said Brandon, who’s currently pursuing a double major in cognitive science and art.
He may be 700 miles up north, but his photos will still remind you of home. Most, if not all, of Brandon’s photos showcase his local environment. They serve as a reminder for us to look around ourselves and in our communities for stories, too.
Read more about Brandon Sağlam and see his photography by grabbing your copy of Legacy today.
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