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Our Sponsors 2023:
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Chasing the Light at ILS begins accepting entries for its  annual competition March 22 - APRIL 9, 2024.
Submissions must be received by APRIL 9, 2024 12pm(ET) 

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Dear students,

Way back during my freshman year at ILS in 1972, I walked into a darkened classroom next door to the 805 classroom. Inside the room I found a fellow student, Gustavo Pupo-Mayo, shining a photography studio lamp with its polished aluminum reflector at still objects sitting on a tabletop. As Gus moved the light side to side at a triangle, a square, and a sphere, I asked Gus, “what are you doing?” His reply, “I’m taking a photography class by mail. You should join the photography club Al!” With that, I started my lifelong journey as a photojournalist. I bought my first film camera, joined the photo club and met some of the original club founders Mercy Palomo and her brother Luis. By junior and senior year I was working on the Royal Courier newspaper and Signum yearbook, graduating in 1976.

At ILS I learned to visualize. Football defensive coach, Carmen Grosso taught us to visualize a fumble, anticipate the ball carrier’s movements for the tackle, or the big play. He would tell us to visualize the action before they even hike the ball. Our team's quarterback, Bill St Pierre, would say, “Visualizing changes reactions into reflexes and helps to do things quicker and better, like a moving picture in slow motion.” Today, visualizing helps me prepare and be ready before the moment. I’ll frame an image, compose and visualize what’s going to happen next before it even occurs. I visualize and place myself in a position to capture the light, the emotion, the movement, and composition all colliding in a split second for the decisive moment to tell a compelling story in a single photograph. This year will be the third annual Al Diaz Chasing the Light at ILS Photography Contest and the Luis Palomo ILS Film Shorts. I hope that it will inspire ILS students to visualize the moment while chasing the light, at ILS, and the South Florida community.


May the Best Shots Be Yours!

Al Diaz 

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