When someone shares their talents with the world in order to put a smile on people’s faces, we think that’s an action worth celebrating. That’s why we decided to reach out to photographer and UNR student Isaac Hoops, who has been documenting the Silver Legacy’s messages of community support. He shared his work with the world — and even allowed us to use his image as our cover photo on Facebook. Here’s our conversation with Isaac about his art, his background and how he stays positive in the face of a global pandemic.
Isaac: Thank you for reaching out to me! I am so happy that the photos have been seen by so many people.
JTP: Absolutely, and we agree! Now please tell us about yourself — how long have you been a photographer, how long have you lived in Reno, what's your background, etc.?
Isaac: I have been taking photos for six years now. For the most part I was self-taught, however I was inspired to get into it from some of my friends who are local photographers — Maggie Saunders (@swaggiemaggieyo) and Kendall Town (@sirberry).
JTP: Why are you a photographer? What's your area of expertise/specialty when it comes to photography?
Isaac: I take photos because I love documenting events. I am a journalism student at UNR focusing on photojournalism. There is nothing more exciting for me than being thrown into an event with the goal to tell the story through my photographs. My favorite things to shoot are outdoor activities. I enjoy backpacking and rock climbing, and those are my favorite things to photograph.
JTP: You've taken a few photos of the Silver Legacy lights from what appears to be the same vantage point; where are these taken from?
Isaac: The Silver Legacy photos were taken from the Vine Street bridge above the freeway. I had tried out a couple of different locations before landing on this one – but I believe it shows the downtown skyline well, without many distractions.
JTP: What have the messages meant to you and/or your friends?
Isaac: I believe this was a nice way to change the appearance of downtown. Those first weeks when the downtown skyline was completely dark, it added another level to the uncertainty and sorrow many were feeling. I have heard some criticism regarding the messages in the windows. Some believe those rooms could have been used to house the high population of people experiencing homelessness in the Reno area.
JTP: What has been the hardest part of the past three months for you? What have you done to stay positive?
Isaac: As a student, the transition to online classes was the hardest part for me. Many of my courses relied on in-person discussion, which did not transfer well to an online base. However, I was able to stay positive by creating an at-home schedule including time for work, school and exercise. With the weather getting more beautiful by the day, outdoor activities are helping a lot as well.
JTP: What are you looking forward to in the future?
Isaac: I am really looking forward to returning to campus. Whether that be this fall or next spring, I am excited to return to the classroom to see my professors and my peers. I am also very excited to return to my rock-climbing gym, Mesa Rim. The community there is amazing, and I have missed it a lot.
JTP: What do you love about Reno?
Isaac: I love the people of Reno. There are so many creative and talented individuals in our city. Many of these people are so humble too. It seems like whatever your interests are, there are people here who are willing to share their knowledge with you.
JTP: What do you want people to know about you?
Isaac: I am proud to live in this community. Thank you for adding to an awesome place and making Reno the great city that it is.
JTP: Where do you go (either physically or mentally) for inspiration?
Isaac: For inspiration I usually turn to podcasts. There is something about narrative storytelling that really gets the information across. This can be broad (listening to someone’s story to get my mind in a good place) or narrow (listening to a specific interview with someone I look up to).
JTP: How can people find you (website, phone number, etc.) in order to hire you?
Isaac: The easiest way to contact me is either by email email@example.com or through Instagram (@ibhoops).