Eye on the ball

Sophomore snaps Decatur events


Ben Greco

Snap! The click of the shutter is drowned out by the crowd’s roar as sophomore Keson Graham looks down at his Canon Rebel SL1.

Graham captures the action at a Decatur JV basketball game, which he’ll upload to his Facebook and secondary Instagram account @dhspics. Graham created @dhspics on Dec. 6 to showcase his pictures of Decatur athletics, musicals and plays.

“I started shooting with my camera during senior night on October 16 and I loved it,” he said. “It was way better than my iPhone.”

Graham watches the JV boys soccer game looking for an opportunity for a picture.

Graham rarely shoots in black and white or video.

”I’m much more comfortable shooting digital,” he said. “I don’t plan on ever shooting film. It’s easier for me to just stick to what I’m doing.”

Graham usually posts individual pictures to Instagram, but sometimes he’ll post a collage of pictures he created with with Layout. Collages let him include many pictures without spamming people’s feeds.

“I like putting pictures on Instagram, but when I have tons of pictures, putting up a collage of a bunch is much more convenient.”

Many students use his pictures on their Instagram.

“It feels great when people post my pictures. I like it even more when they give me photo credits,” he said.

Sophomore James Moore posted a picture that Keson took of him earlier this month.

“I love how he’s always at every game,” he said. “I can always count on him to be there and support and take pictures.”

Moore respects Graham’s commitment to shooting almost every game.

“I don’t know how he finds the time,” he said. “Clearly, he’s got great time management. It’s hard for the balance school and soccer alone.”
His grandma gave him his first camera in September of last year. To accompany her gift, she gave him some technical pointers.

“She gave me some great advice about photography,” he said. “She made sure I shot at a bunch of different angles and that I kept practicing.”

Many of Graham’s relatives also enjoy shooting photographs, and they persuaded him to pick up a camera.

“In addition to my grandma, my uncle, my cousin Chris and his brother all love shooting pictures,” he said. “They inspired me to start shooting in the first place.”

Even Graham’s mom, Kenya Pettiford shoots.

“I usually use my iPhone, but I took a photography class once,” she said, “but when he explains his photography to me, I’m completely lost.”

Pettiford sees great potential in her son, and she hopes that he continues to pursue his hobby.

“He’s got a great eye,” she said. “He could easily get a job in the photography industry.”

Asperger’s syndrome does not hamper Graham’s photography skills. While it hasn’t affected his ability to photograph, he’s experienced a few negative side effects.

“It takes a toll, especially in the writing department,” she said. “He’s been getting tutoring, and he’s progressing very quickly. I’m very proud of him. Thankfully, he’s interested in pursuing photography so it shouldn’t affect him later on in life.”

Asperger’s typically takes a toll on one’s socializing abilities. Nonetheless, Graham has gotten to be very social.

Graham uses a Canon Rebel SL1 and alternates between his zoom and primary lens when shooting soccer games.

“Decatur’s been a great place for him. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and he finds it easy to get along and converse with others. He’s more social than I am, and I don’t have Asperger’s,” she said.

Graham immersed himself in local middle and high school events since he attended Renfroe but started capturing them after receiving his camera.

“I shoot at almost every Decatur event,” he said. “I shot the play, the musical and multiple sports over the past year.”

In addition to shooting on his own time, Graham was asked to shoot live stream video of the games.

“I get to operate this huge camera, and it’s really fun,” he said. “All I have to do is follow the ball with the camera.”

Graham believes that all of these opportunities are helping him in the long run.

“I’m glad that I shoot at games and plays,” he said. “It’s great practice, it’s fun, and it’s benefiting my future. I’m not stopping anytime soon.”