Peer Mentor Spotlight: A.L “Leo”Amiri

©A.L “Leo” Amiri

You can sit down and visit with Leo during his Peer Mentor hours Tuesdays 4-8pm, Wednesdays 11-1pm and Thursdays 4-6pm in V160. He is available to help any photography student with their assignments and questions. He is available for individual appointments by contacting him via his email, See more of his work online:

How did you become interested in photography Leo?
I became interested in photography initially because of my parents. They’re both architects and have always had a connection to photography, as architects tend to. My father has collected cameras since before I was born and I was always attracted to them growing up. In high school I had a good friend who did photography and he used to sneak me into the dark room after school and taught me how to make black and white prints. Ultimately, I think the interest in photography stems from an unshakable interest in observing the workings and dynamics of the world around me as much as possible. So in that sense, I now view photography as more of a tool to help me understand, accept and shape the world around me.

What classes you completed at CCSF in the Photo dept and what skill sets have you found particularly valuable?
Beginning Photography
Outdoor and Ambient Light Photography
Intermediate Black and White Film/Darkroom Techniques
Advanced Black and White Film/Darkroom Techniques
Beginning Photoshop
Intermediate Photoshop
Self Portraiture
Zone System Techniques
View Camera Techniques
Architectural Photography
Documentary/News Photography
Beginning Studio Lighting Techniques (enrolled)

The most valuable skill sets for me have been learning how to process/develop/print black and white film/prints and how to use software like Photoshop and Lightroom more in depth than ever before, and probably most importantly, how to combine the old methodologies of photography with the more modern, particularly digital, world and how one can use them in conjunction. I’ve also been interested in thinking about the relationship between analog and digital photography, how they’ve changed, how they’ve changed us, their relationships to society, comparisons with other media, etc. Transformation of the meaning of photography? Its implications, future, etc.

What is it about peer mentoring do you enjoy?
I find there is quality and value in being able to communicate. Particularly, the value and quality of what is being communicated and how such communication can help individuals grow, which is obviously inextricably linked to the well being of everyone else. I believe the betterment of the human condition is dependent on a responsibility of the individual to better his/her fellow human being. That you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Being able to help someone understand something better, so that they may use that information to better themselves on their own accord is a truly amazing and very important thing. I like knowing that I have helped someone else achieve something, and in doing so, hopefully making that person understand how critical it is for us to help each other in general. On a more self-serving note, it is also a great way to increase your knowledge of a given subject. We all know that studying something and then not applying it is a sure fire way to forget it. By mentoring, I can exercise my knowledge and hopefully it will be better preserved and possibly more advanced because of it. It’s always nice to meet new and diverse people and understand how different people learn things differently. I think that’s a big part of teaching in general.

What are your aspirations for the future?
My aspirations are unclear. I am on a journey of self-discovery and until I feel like I have arrived at a point where I’m comfortable with myself, It will be hard to pursue anything knowing that my ambition and will and drive aren’t at their fullest potential. I want to be a positive addition to the world, I would like to do things that matter, not just to me, but to others as well. I would like to continue my education more in depth and fine tune my interests so i can accomplish something of substance with them. Currently I have been thinking about going to graduate school to study environmental design/architecture/sustainability. I feel like these are going to be major issues in the future for every human being and I like the idea of trying to be part of the solutions.


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