By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Assumption High School senior Grant Whitty and his camera function unobtrusively at school events, blending in with the crowd as they capture candid moments. His photographs, on the other hand, draw a lot of attention — and a lot of “likes” on Assumption’s Facebook page.
For the past several months, Whitty has served as a volunteer photojournalist for the school, submitting photos from sporting events, Masses and other school activities for use on social media, the school yearbook, official publications and more.
“He is not a person that seeks the spotlight. I think this is a way for him to share his talent but also shine a light on others,” said Jordan Gizzarelli, an Assumption High School administrator who handles the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Whitty, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf, has been honing his photography skills since middle school. He runs his own photography business, Altitude Fotography. Action sports and landscapes are among his favorite subjects, though he has also taken senior portraits for a number of his classmates.
Gizzarelli had been looking for students to help showcase student activities and, after seeing some of Whitty’s work, he hoped the teen would be receptive. “He is very, very talented.”
Whitty embraced the opportunity. “God has blessed me with a great gift, and what better way to use it than by helping others out!”
Though school and work keep Whitty busy, he volunteers to take photos whenever he can. Gizzarelli said he feels blessed to have the teen’s help. “He is easy to work with and willing to do whatever we ask him to do. There is a certain component of giving back to your community and he understands the importance of that.”
It may be service, but for the 17-year-old, it’s also a lot of fun. “I just love being behind the camera; if I can help someone out by doing that, it brings me happiness. I love having the ability to take a moment in time and keep it forever.”
Gizzarelli also sees it as an opportunity for Whitty to practice his skills — he thinks the teen has the potential to make a splash in the photography industry. “He’s still trying to find his own style as an artist and he’s willing to share that growth with us and help us showcase a community that he is proud to be a part of.”
Whitty isn’t sure what he’ll do with photography after graduation. He sees God in nature and would love to be able to travel through North America with his camera in-hand.
“God is a pretty creative artist, he has made some really awesome natural features on this Earth. Capturing his amazing creations and sharing them with others is so incredibly awesome and brings me joy.”
He’d also consider focusing his efforts on working for an outdoor or skiing-related company of some sort, or owning his own camera or ski shop. “I will just have to see what God has in store for me.”