By: Esther Liu, Contributor

The Silhouette: What inspired you to start @hamontsalsa?

Salsa Sarhan: I used to have a One Direction fan page and I used to make edits. That’s what inspired me. I realized I could take my own photos and incorporate my own stuff. I had a little iPod [5th generation] that I used to take photos and then I realized that I’m actually getting good at this. So then I made my own little photography account.

People started liking my photos, reposting them online and I realized that I kind of have a knack for this! So I focused solely on that. Last year, I started actually selling my prints. People kept on asking if I have a website—I don’t have a website just yet, I’m still working on it—but people are buying my prints, which is really exciting. So if you need a print, let me know!

What are your goals for @hamontsalsa, both short term and long term?

My short-term goal is to sell 100 prints. So far I’ve sold 40, so I’m doing pretty good for the beginning of this year. Long term, I definitely want to open up my own studio and then show people photography tips and show them how to get started, even with an iPod 5. Having a studio would be huge for me, but that’s definitely a long-term goal, after university, after all those student loans are paid off.

How are you finding running the project during the pandemic?

Honestly, it’s very hard cause I’m not as active as I used to be in the summer, where you could be going on walks and everything looked sun-kissed and beautiful. During the pandemic, everything does feel a little bit more gloomy, especially with the semester being so heavy. So having it as a side-project right now is kind of inspiring since I can relax, know that it’s still there and I can always go to it and be happy.

During the pandemic, everything does feel a little bit more gloomy, especially with the semester being so heavy. So having it as a side-project right now is kind of inspiring since I can relax, know that it’s still there and I can always go to it and be happy.

Do you see yourself continuing @hamontsalsa when you graduate?

Oh yes, definitely. But I feel like it’s gonna be less architecture and buildings that I see when I’m going on walks. When I graduate, I want to focus solely on people and people’s stories. I’ve always wanted to do portrait photography, but I never got a chance to practice. After graduation, I could focus on different realms of photography since I’ll have more free time considering that I’m not stressing and doing school work.

Could you elaborate on why you’re so interested in photography?

I know it’s a little bit cliché, but I think it’s a fact that I can capture things in my own perspective. That is huge for me because I like being very vocal about who I am and what I stand for. So definitely being able to capture a perspective that’s mine and knowing that no one else can change it but me.

I know it’s a little bit cliché, but I think it’s a fact that I can capture things in my own perspective. That is huge for me because I like being very vocal about who I am and what I stand for. So definitely being able to capture a perspective that’s mine and knowing that no one else can change it but me.

You can see from the beginning of my feed to now, there was a huge improvement and change in the type of photographer I was and the places I was going to, how I see different angles.

Could you elaborate a little bit more on how you think your project has evolved?

It’s definitely evolved with the way that I’m actually perceiving things in Hamilton. It’s not just me going on a walk and seeing a nice random building, it’s me looking at different angles of that building, now appreciating the texture, the textiles of it.

So it’s definitely me growing as an artist and then that definitely shows in the improvement of my photography. Like I said before, like, long-term goal, I do want to focus more on portrait photography and the people within those photos. Being able to grow as a photographer is just a huge thing.

What camera do you use?

Here’s my biggest trade secret: I don’t use a camera. That’s my biggest trade secret. I just use my [iPhone] 8 Plus.

Do you have any hot spots in Hamilton that you really like to take photos of?

Bayfront is such an easy place to get inspired ’cause it’s always changing, there’s always something new. Number two, I would say Locke Street. There’s so many different colours and paintings [and] everything looks like it’s from a different era.

And number three . . . this one’s basic, but I really like Mulberry [Café]. I’m there almost every single day to say hi to my barista friends, but that place is so photogenic. They have these huge windows so lots of good natural light comes in and the actual structure inside is so cute. They have these brick walls and even the lights are adorable.

And then, let me think of a fourth one. Oh! Aberdeen [Street]! Aberdeen has some gorgeous houses, some look like mansions. So, you could pop in an address, look cute and pose.”

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