Charlie Molitor finds self-expression and creative freedom in photography


Charlie Molitor

Freshman Charlie Molitor expresses himself with his creative freedom in photography.

Contrary to his prior expectations, freshman Charlie Molitor has become friends with several upperclassmen through simply taking photos.

Charlie has been partaking in photography since last year, but he has become more serious about it this year. The availability of cameras in his photography class—where he met his upperclassmen acquaintances—propelled him to enjoy photography. 

“I never thought that being friends with upperclassmen was an actual thing until I had classes with them,” Charlie said. “I thought there was a huge age barrier, but they don’t really discriminate against age. They treat you like an actual human being. Obviously, they do kind of make jokes; they’re not always like ‘You’re perfect.’ They’ll be like ‘Oh, he’s doing freshman stuff,’ which is kind of an insult. For the most part, they are really accepting, and they help you, and they guide you along the way. They’re passing their knowledge onto you, so it’s not like you’re walking into [the class] with nothing.”

While photography is mostly an individual-based project, Charlie relishes being able to spend time with his classmates. 

Some advice for people that want to get into photography: literally just get a camera, and go take pictures

— Charlie Molitor

Since he is a freshman, Charlie does have a visible age gap with some of his photography peers. Nevertheless, they all can find jubilation in similar things within the class, such as freedom. 

“It gives me a creative outlet to express what I’m feeling,” Charlie said. “Not a lot of other things do that. In other classes that I take, it’s like, ‘Do this; do the work.’ Not a lot of yourself is involved [in that]. Photography, specifically, it’s you, and not just a class that you take. It’s not an easy A. You actually have to express yourself and put work into it.”

Photography provides a contrasting type of curriculum for Charlie, which offers a break from his normal laborious day.

Charlie not only finds an outlet from the rest of life’s hecticness in photography, but also in music, writing, and art. He presumes that his involvement in those creative activities avails him within his photography.

“[My creative outlets] give me an opportunity that I need to gather my thoughts [for other projects],” Charlie said. “Since I’m not going into it blindly, I know what to do. It’s like ‘Oh, I thought of that before.’ So I can just add that to the concept in photography.”

Possessing ideas for what to take photos of is extremely beneficial to Charlie’s productivity. By having ideas prepared and ready to go, he can expend more time on physically photographing rather than hatching ideas.

When involved in a creative activity, it’s important to have a solid backup plan—a go-to strategy if other ideas aren’t working out. For Charlie, his favorite thing to shoot photos of is people. 

“[They’re] changeable,” Charlie said. “If you’re photographing a landscape, it’s not as easy to change unless you’re photoshopping it. With people, you can direct them on what to do.”

Maintaining control over how the project will turn out provides a safety net, enabling Charlie to be able to branch out.

Charlie takes photography classes and often has assignments that are not always something he executes frequently. By having certain things he is trained to do, he can feel confident in broadening his scope and possibly finding a new favorite project.

“My favorite shoot was probably an imaginative one,” said Charlie, who often shoots one to two times per week. “It was really weird and combined a lot of stuff. I took pictures of seven different people. I also took stuff from the internet and combined it into one thing. [The people] were dropping from a plane, and it was weird. There were LSD-type colors.”

Diversifying what he does photography-wise has been a way for Charlie to bond with his classmates. 

Charlie enjoys spending time with and learning new techniques from his more experienced peers within his photography class. One day, he hopes to do the same for future underclassmen and bring them into his world of inspired imagery.

“Some advice for people that want to get into photography: literally just get a camera, and go take pictures,” Charlie said. “It doesn’t have to be a set thing that you have to do. Just go out and have fun.”