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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 2:43 am | Overcast 54º


sbTNN Gives Teen Photographer Garrett Geyer a Bigger Picture

Youth program offers hands-on experience — and a foot in the door for backstage access to the biggest stars

At age 15, a rock concert changed Garrett Geyer’s life.

With Santa Barbara Teen News Network media pass in hand, Garrett, an aspiring photographer, stood just feet from the Grammy Award-winning band The Smashing Pumpkins. The exhilarating rush of adrenaline he experienced from photographing his first major concert led to more photography gigs and deepened his passion and commitment to photography.

Santa Barbara High sophomore Garrett Geyer says the sbTNN program has opened the gate to a whole new world, as well as a career.
Santa Barbara High sophomore Garrett Geyer says the sbTNN program has opened the gate to a whole new world, as well as a career. (sbTNN photo)

Garrett, a sophomore at Santa Barbara High School, is able to hone his photography skills while getting up close and personal with rock stars and movie stars thanks to The Patricia Henley Foundation and its sbTNN program.

sbTNN is an exciting, fast-paced 30-minute weekly show, produced for and by local teens, creating an upbeat TV show reflecting current events, teen lifestyles, creative expression and the voice of teenagers. Noozhawk is the program’s media sponsor. Through the free sbTNN program, teens learn about finding and expressing their “voice,” an idea that was the founder’s vision in creating The Patricia Henley Foundation.

Thanks to sbTNN’s assistance in arranging his access to events like concerts and movie premieres, Garrett, who is now 16, has had the opportunity to photograph musical artists Katy Perry, Phoenix, Maroon 5, Jack Johnson, Shakira, Stone Temple Pilots, Thievery Corporation, OK Go, The Black Crowes, Passion Pit and Rebelution. Garrett likes to “go macro,” or get up close and get personal. His motto, “the closer, the better,” is reflected in his pictures.

Through his involvement in sbTNN, Garrett also had the unique opportunity to attend and photograph stars like Nicole Kidman, Annette Bening, Geoffrey Rush and James Franco on the red carpet at the 26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival earlier this year. 

Photography comes naturally to Garrett. His grandfather and great-grandmother are photographers who inspired him to pursue the craft. Until Garrett became involved with sbTNN, photography was mostly just a hobby. Through sbTNN, Garrett was first able to take photos of stage performances and youth musicals. As hi’s photography skills flourished, he was able to take his photographic skills to the next level by photographing concerts and movie premieres.

With the assistance of Peter McCorkle, sbTNN director, Garrett began to secure media passes giving him backstage access to photograph concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl, The Granada, the Arlington Theatre, the Lobero Theatre and UCSB.

sbTNN has also provided Garrett with the opportunity to work with and be mentored by professional photographers. He recently returned from a spring break trip to Palm Springs, where he attended and participated in the Palm Springs Photo Festival. Participation in this prestigious event is generally reserved for professional and graduate student photographers, but thanks to his involvement with sbTNN, Garrett was afforded the unique opportunity to be a part of this exciting event. He was able to talk with participating photographers as they showed their work, along with museum curators and other professionals. A gallery owner made the comment that she will be watching his work through sbTNN.

Garrett knows opportunities like this are amazing, and is very grateful to Patricia Henley and sbTNN.

“It is my goal to be a professional photographer, and with sbTNN I have had many amazing opportunities to get hands-on experience and expand my photography skills,” Garrett said.

Garrett exhibited a selection of his photographs at his second one-man show during the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization’s 1st Thursday on April 7 at Ultimate Bagels, 1226 State St. The exhibit will remain on display through May 4 at Ultimate Bagels. He will also display his pieces at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St., from June 20 to July 31.

The sbTNN program is not just for aspiring young photographers, but for all youth interested in creative arts. Students in the program also learn basic cinematography, familiarizing themselves with editing software, cameras and sound engineering, along with stage performance and interviewing techniques. Each segment features different students and stories from different schools.

Sponsored by the Patricia Henley Foundation, the sbTNN program is free of charge to all 30 teens who are involved in the program, thanks to the support of donations from individuals and local business that sponsor a teen’s participation in sbTNN.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Teen News Network, or call 805.658.3600. Follow sbTNN on Twitter: @sbTNN. Become a fan of sbTNN on Facebook.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Teen News Network.

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