To anyone that knows who I am, they would start probably start off listing my communication skills as my greatest strengths. Whether it be business, work, friends, and even new people, I am very adaptable in the way I choose my words and how I craft and maintain my relationships. I am always confident if I were to walk into a room full of stranger, I could at least make a couple of new friends. I think this strength stems from an interesting place, a place of miscommunication. I used to be extremely socially awkward around my early teens, and I think this ability is the byproduct of many failures, which I think is one of my greatest accomplishments. Instead of searching for the right things to say all the time, I feel them come to me through listening and being present, which are the two most important aspects of communication in my opinion.
Another strength that sits adjacent to my communication skills is my confidence. It may sound narcissistic, but there is a difference in confidence and arrogance. I believe my confidence allows me to have a certain type of gravity. I find that I am normally the one to bring people together and taking leadership roles. I am never afraid to be the one to act, because there have been so many situations in school, work where I have had to play that role. Like my communication skills, my past shows that it was not always like this. Shy, timid, and quiet were words to describe my past iteration. Self-improvement is always something that I have been trying to do, and it even carries on today.
The last strength that was touched on slightly earlier, is my ability to listen. These two strengths above cannot exist without listening. It has allowed me to really create deep and meaningful relationships with friends. It is the key to understand those people who you co-exist with and establishes trust with them. I don’t really understand friends who only scratch the surface with each other, and I want to be able to know the people I really care and love about inside and out.
These are the core characteristics from my perspective that set me apart from other colleagues and competitors and are the components that make up my “strong suit”.
Left: Birds on Montrose Beach | Summer 2019.
Right: Beach Bunny (one of my favorite bands) at Canopy Club | Fall 2019.
In order to become your best self, one needs to understand and accept their own weaknesses.
One of the biggest aspects of myself that I find battling daily is my ego. My ego is has strong oppositions because I believe it is a defense mechanism. It acts up whenever I meet someone who I perceive as better than me in things like photography (look on sidebar to left to see those projects), leadership roles, and anything that seems like a threat to me. When I run into these people, it may not be apparent because these things occur in me head mostly, which is a good thing. 90% of the time, there is no action that goes along with these feelings because I know they are fundamentally wrong, but I think about it quite often. Depending on the degree of opposition, that dictates how strong these feelings are. I have come miles learning to accepts, love, and control this feeling, but every now and then, it gets irritated.
Another big weakness that has been present in my life is complacency. In the past, I have been too satisfied with work I have achieved. It is okay to be proud of what you have created, but sometimes I get lazy because of things I have done. I should be working on my next big thing or project instead of relying on past work. Now it has been getting better because I am constantly pushing myself to new boundaries, but it creeps up every now and then.
These are my biggest weaknesses that are the most impactful in my opinion. As long as I recognize and understand these two aspects of myself, I believe that I can overcome and see myself succeed.
Left: My mother Nerssia next to her mother, Jesusa, who passed in November.
Right: An engagement shoot I did near Cloud Gate.
I spoke to a couple of friends and family for this question. The most repeated characteristic that I received had to do with my ability to “get along with anyone”. My good friend put it into context saying that I could sit at any table during lunch and make friends. I would have to agree with these characteristics. Like I mentioned in my first strength, this is one of my traits that I am most proud about. It was also mentioned that this trait has opened many doors for me. It has opened job, creative, and many other opportunities for me. I am happy that this is the most abundant characteristic that my peers see of me, because it is something that I strive for.
My best personal trait from my peers is my pursuit of knowledge, specifically creatively. Before reading this, I have spread out some of my creative work through this website. This is where I host my creative work, specifically my photojournalism work. This is what people know me as. Throughout high school I always have been pushing my photography and innovating my style. Now it’s a little more focused and I hope that it is visible through my images. I will always seek ways to add to my style. The images above and below have been some of my favorites that I have taken within the last year or two. To build upon the creative, I also do other mediums. I recently produced an ad for TOPO designs (not listed), do a lot of documentary work (in videos tab), and am currently teaching myself graphic design. I want to build myself to become a creative that can do more than just one thing. My peers know I am spending a ton of free time doing online classes, trying out new projects, and even collaborating with other people. This is all because I want to achieve my goal of becoming an Art Director, which requires a drive for creative knowledge and skills.
Left: My buddy Estevan after a 12 hour shoot for Marc Nolan.
Right: Me my senior year of high school taking photos at the pep rally.
I do see a lot of congruence between my self- analysis and the external analysis. I really believe this is because I am a very open and emotional person. Most of the people I asked are close friends, and they know me extremely well. They understand who I am and what I am passionate about. I mentioned earlier that I care about crafting meaningful relationships, and them know these things about me shows how intimate my close relationships are. I like to share about my life just as much as I like to listen to other’s people’s lives. I would not want to reposition myself, but instead work on the weaknesses that I have said about myself and those that my peers have said. I am extremely happy that my views and my peers views are similar, because it shows that I am achieving what I want in myself.
An entry to my series about symmetry, something that is related to congruence.
I would say I have two feature benefits, one that is physical and one that is more emotional.
To describe my physical one, it is my eye. Practicing photography for over seven years has earned me the ability to see things as I was taking an image of it. With this, it allows me to have unique compositions with my photographs, designs, and even stills for video. I really like going for weird and normally uncomfortable angles to show how I view the world and the people that exist in it. I really think this is my greatest physical feature and has caused people to appreciate my work
My emotional feature benefit is altruism. Coming from a place of selfishness, anger, and spite, my personality has developed into one that cares about other people. I am not only talking about my immediate circle, but those that I don’t eve know as well. I believe a lot of my actions are those that try and benefit those around my, whether it be helping someone that dropped something to even just speaking to someone in distress. For some reason I feel indebted to the world around me and me acting in this non-selfish way is me paying it back.
Two images I took in downtown Urbana.
Art is my greatest passion in any medium. My most proficient medium is digital photography. The images above are there to show my skills and how much I care about it as a medium. I have a hard time putting into words why I do it, but hopefully the images above give you the reader, a better idea.
Feel free to explore my website! (to get back just type in badm320 after the backslash (markcapapas.com/badm320))
Mark Capapas for BADM 320