The Daily Iowan

Capturing sentiment through the lens of a camera

UI senior Aaron Longoria experiments through film to portray moments that would be fleeting without a camera.

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Capturing sentiment through the lens of a camera

Contributed/Bethunni Schreiner

Contributed/Bethunni Schreiner

Contributed/Bethunni Schreiner

Madison Lotenschtein, Arts Reporter

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Unlike most students, Aaron Longoria sees assignments as opportunities to enhance his artistic abilities rather than mandatory, stressful tasks.

Photography and graphic design are activities the graduating senior is fond of, but his true passion, filmmaking, wears the gold medal in his world.

The journalism and film major particularly enjoys composing documentaries and experimental films. Last semester, Longoria documented a Midwest photographer.

“I was inspired by this photographer who does a lot of concert photography,” he said. “That’s something I’m interested in, and I thought it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall, to show and not to tell. All of the sound was natural.”

Experimental film is also one of is primary interests. The art form is described by Longoria as creating an experience that is not based on much of a story but rather a feeling.

When an idea strikes, Longoria runs at it full speed, and a bulk of his work is improvised.

One of his most recent experimental films grapples with the idea of orientation, which is exhibited through scenes of driving all night.

I was inspired by this photographer who does a lot of concert photography. That’s something I’m interested in, and I thought it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall, to show and not to tell. All of the sound was natural.”

— Aaron Longoria

“If I have a feeling or idea, I try to control that feeling and work with how that feeling can affect you emotionally,” Longoria said. “But orientation is hard to figure out; it gets you in an emotional state.”

The filmmaker began taking video classes in middle school and waded into broadcasting in high school. It wasn’t until he enrolled at the UI that he found interest in less-conventional filmmaking. Once he was pushed into that creative realm, he realized how scarce his resources were.

Longoria said part of the experimental-film journey is wondering, “How far can I push this with the resources I have?”

Even so, Longoria overcomes the challenges with his love for film and its way of documenting life.

“I’m a sentimental person,” Longoria said. “Feelings can be gone in a moment. My scenery and people around me always change. I can watch a film I made and think, ‘Oh, that’s how I felt a year ago.’ My films are chapters of my life.”

Postgraduation, Longoria hopes to enter graduate school and to teach students his various skills in creating films. For the artist, collaboration with other filmmakers is key. 

“We can bounce off ideas and help each other out, because everyone is an expert with at least one thing,” Longoria said. “It’s all about sharing it with others. I’m not the best storyteller, but I can share what I feel through film.”

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About the Writer
Madison Lotenschtein, Arts Reporter

Email: [email protected]

Madison Lotenschtein is an arts reporter and digital producer at The Daily Iowan. She is a sophomore at the University...

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