Meet photographer Olivia Sandoval, a sophomore Psychology and Independent Scholars major at JMU. She is excited to display her original series of photographs of student music groups around the Harrisonburg area. Welcome to “Restricted Access” in Taylor Down Under.

Sandoval’s interest in photography came from her mom, who is a photographer of “everything from weddings to fine art portraiture.” In high school, Sandoval was involved in Yearbook and specialized in sports photography.

Sandoval’s interest in music photography began when she joined the JMU yearbook as a staff photographer, covering local music events and bands. “I really fell in love with that style of photography,” says Sandoval. “It’s something I’d never done before.” Sandoval had the opportunity to explore the style more when her friend began taking a music production class. “I was the photographer for her. I got to know some of the local bands, I got to dig into the music scene going on in downtown Harrisonburg.” Through the groups she met, she made connections with others and was soon taking photos for many different bands around Harrisonburg. 

Sandoval finds that her interests in subject matter challenge gender standards within the photography field. “Most of the time, women photograph weddings, portraiture, and newborns. [Sports and music photography] are fields that don’t have a female voice very often. They’re action-centered rather than people-centered. I think the female touch is being able to make it more personal, documenting more of the emotion rather than action.”

For Sandoval, learning about the bands and getting to know them is an experience that she enjoys. “I hope that people explore the bands a little more closely. I’ve included their names in the captions and hopefully, they’re easy to find. It’s just as much about what they’re doing because their music and performances are what inspired me to take these photos anyways. There’s just so much talent here.”

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