When she was 12 years old, Camille Simmons wanted to feel “cool,” so she borrowed her father’s Nikon D80 to take pictures during a family vacation to Israel, she said.
Photography has been in Simmons’ family for three generations.
It was a “serious hobby” for her grandfather, who had a darkroom in the basement of his home, her father Jerald Simmons said.
“The camera captures memories,” said Camille Simmons, a sophomore epee. “And I want to be the person capturing those memories. You are in charge of what people remember. The first time I looked through the lens of camera, I was hooked.”
“When she first grabbed the camera from me I was praying she didn’t break it,” Jerald Simmons said. “I am just really happy she took an interest. Her grandfather started the trend, and he would have been really happy to see Camille and what she is doing.”
Camille Simmons, a public relations major, owns a Nikon D750 that she purchased in high school by saving birthday and holiday money from relatives. She runs various social media accounts to promote her photography, which include photos of Temple sporting events and her friends.
The Instagram account she uses for photography, @camillesimmonsphotos, has more than 900 followers. On Facebook, more than 890 people follow her photography page.
She hopes to have a career in sports photography after she graduates.
“Everyone remembers the score and who wins the match, but I have the power to capture that moment within the game people can remember forever,” she said.
“Capturing moments” is one of Camille Simmons’ favorite aspects of photography, she said. While shooting, she aims to capture candid photos when people have authentic reactions and subjects are unaware of her presence.
Shooting sports gives Camille Simmons the opportunity to capture those photos, she said. But her best candid photos came when she shot a wedding, she added.
“No one around really noticed me, so I can get those moments they don’t pose for,” she said.
During her college career, Camille Simmons has shot the games of her fellow Division I athletes including football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball and lacrosse.
Before she posts pictures to social media, she “stalks” other athletes’ accounts to tag them in her shots, she said.
“I love getting a direct message from all these different people,” she said. “People get really excited, and that excitement carries over from each photo shoot. It makes everything worthwhile when other people tell me I made a memory for them.”
Camille Simmons shoots fencing the most because of her involvement in the sport. Junior epee Ally Micek is among the fencers pictured in Camille Simmons’ Facebook photo albums.
The two have known each other since they joined the same fencing club, Alliance Fencing Academy in Houston, about eight or nine years ago, Micek said.
Micek enjoys being around Camille Simmons when her camera is in her hand.
“Camille’s photos are second to none in my opinion,” Micek said. “I love being friends with her because she takes good pictures of me. It is awesome to see how involved with it she is and the passion she has behind it.”
Camille Simmons is trying to use her platform in fencing to jump-start her photography career through USA Fencing. She shot at the Cadet World Championships in 2015.
“I want to be at the Olympics one day,” Camille Simmons said. “If I keep taking fencing pictures that US Fencing can use, eventually I will run into one connection that will lead me to another. I am just trying to get my name out there and have fun while doing it.”