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COMM Week 2022 CSUF Alumni Photography Panel

<em>COMM Week 2022</em> CSUF Alumni Photography Panel

COMM Week 2022 CSUF Alumni Alyssa Walker and Mitchell Aragon

by Annisa Charles

Monday, April 25th was the first day of COMM week. CSUF alumni Alyssa Walker and Mitchell Aragon spoke to students about their careers as photographers after graduating. Some CSUF experiences taught them where they belonged in their career choice. Aragon was the art director for Tusk’s 20th-anniversary magazine and Walker described how Professor Bill Thompson's photography class helped push her boundaries and teach her where she should go.

Walker told students that the connections made in college are important. She explained that she and Aragon have stayed connected since college and it has helped one of them to find jobs. Connections are key.

Aragon’s first job out of college was with Forever 21, which eventually fell through due to their bankruptcy. There was a huge corporate layoff soon after being employed, so from there he interviewed and got a job at YMI Jeanswear INC. Again, Aragon was let go due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the YMI Jeanswear INC rehired him as things started to reopen. He is currently the only photographer hired and has complete creative leeway.

Walker went straight to Wholesale Fashion Square as an assistant photographer for her first job. She explained it was a lot of work and taught her the difference between wholesale and retail photography, how the aesthetics are different, and realized that retail does not allow her as much creative freedom as wholesale. Walker continued in her career to L’atiste, where she got to do destination shots and be way more creative. Walker is currently hired as a photographer for SHEIN, where she was able to ask for the pay she wants. She said, “I love my job. I drive to work every day excited to be there.”

Some tips for the up-and-coming photography students was to have multiple websites for all of your different work–– one for specializing in editorial and another for wedding photography. Another tip was to continue learning.

Aragon hopes to one day shoot only editorial portraits or music videos. Walker hopes to be on set for big-budget photoshoots and create her own brand to have all the creative freedom she wants.