Student starts Mercer photo series

Claire Hammond

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Before Mallory Sammons’ first field trip, her father gave her a small camera.

Its tiny reel could only hold 30 images at a time, but Sammons made the most of that space, filling it so often that her parents had to buy her something a little bigger.

Sammons’ second camera was a Sony Cyber-shot.

“I used to spend hours walking through the yard taking photos of things,” Sammons said, “I won a photo contest for the school newspaper with my little camera.”

Sammons would receive her next camera as a Christmas gift — a Nikon D3100, which she still uses today.

“I was unstoppable with that camera,” Sammons said. “I photographed everything. I remember the first photo I ever took with it was on Christmas Day while the candles were being put out, and the image was so clear that I could see the curls of smoke.”

“Walking into someone’s home and seeing a photograph I took hanging on the wall gives me so much joy,” Sammons said. “The most rewarding moments for me are the times I take someone’s photo and show them the back of the camera, and they see themselves the way I see them through my camera, that they have a good smile or beautiful eyes and that they are photogenic after all.”  

Recently, Sammons has begun work on her Mercer Character Portrait project. She originally sought models by posting on the Mercer Facebook Group, and received 67 total volunteers.

She asks her models to pick a place on campus that’s personally significant to them and to wear something that represents them.

“It was secretly a way for me to get to practice shooting and get more portrait practice, but I made a project out of it,” Sammons said, “I have met them after class or before work and spent 10, 15 minutes snapping portraits. I intend to post them on Facebook as a sort of publication, so everyone can see. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Avery Davis, one of Sammons’ subjects, said, “Mallory and I went to the park because every Saturday I go watercolor in the park. I was very excited to be a part of her project because she is very talented.”

Taking photos has given Sammons many opportunities. She has photographed several weddings, engagements, family shoots, and children.

She won British Virgin Islands Property & Yacht Magazine’s “Best Overall Photo,” and was featured in the 2014 issue.

Over the course of a three-week mission internship in Honduras, Sammons amassed more than 2000 photographs.

For Sammons, photography isn’t about the recognition. It’s about capturing moments.

“Memories are some of the most precious things we have, and capturing those for other people is a joy and pleasure,” Sammons said.

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