Zooming in on a passion for pictures

By Seth Endres

Taking it easy, working with photo design and posting his projects on MySpace are some things Richard Bernardo has managed to fit into his last semester at NIU.

At first glance, Bernardo, a senior communication major, may look like an everyday student, but when he’s not at class or at work he looks at life through a different lens.

“Other than classes, I work at the Asian-American Center on campus,” Bernardo said. “For fun, there’s a lot of hanging out with friends. I like to do photo shoots for fun, too. A lot of people want to have their pictures taken, so it works better that way. I usually tell them ahead of time what I’m planning on doing and then go from there.”

MySpace has been a recent addition to Bernardo’s student lifestyle.

“I was using Friendster for awhile,” Bernardo said. “Then when MySpace started, everyone started moving on to MySpace and I didn’t. Recently, my roommate started using MySpace and showed me all the cool things you could do, like put up pictures.”

Photography and photo editing haven’t always been hobbies of Bernardo’s.

“Over the summer, I saw this picture of a guy sitting on a couch,” Bernardo said. “Next to him he had a duplicate of himself and I wanted to try it and I did. I was able to copy the photo and that’s how I got into it.”

Online support has been very influential in Bernardo’s continued interest in photography and photo editing.

“I would put my work up on my Xanga and I would get a lot of compliments and good feedback on it,” Bernardo said. “So it kept making me want to do more.”

MySpace is more than an online photo gallery for Bernardo. He prefers to use the site for finding music and keeping in contact with people.

“I have a few relatives that use MySpace, too. They live in California, and it helps me keep in contact with them,” Bernardo said. “I use it to find music and bands that I like, but mostly I just use it as a communication tool.”

Besides the online photo editing world, Bernardo took an active role in student organizations, particularly the Asian American Association.

Since his time at NIU is coming to an end, Bernardo has relaxed his involvement in the Asian American Association in hopes of training the next generation.

“At the time, it’s always good to train new leaders, and I was getting old,” Bernardo said. “I’m a super senior, so I thought it was time to pass the torch on and train younger students to be leaders.”

Being a super senior isn’t without its difficulties. There are several challenges that Bernardo faces, the biggest being a lack of motivation.

“I guess when I was a sophomore and a junior I really wanted to stay at NIU as long as possible, because I liked it,” Bernardo said. “Now that I’m a senior, I just want to leave, but at the same time I’m tired of the school work. A lot of the earlier years at NIU were more fun.”

However, Bernardo doesn’t lack motivation when it comes to his goals for the future.

“I have a cousin in California who has a friend who’s a director,” Bernardo said. “So I’m trying to get a job through my cousin. I’m probably going to start off being a production assistant. Hopefully I’ll work my way up.”