‘I’m just doing this for them’: Local photog snaps portraits for students of lost seasons

Neighborhood All-Stars

LA JOLLA, Calif. — With high school spring sports canceled, lost are the senior student portraits that families cherish for a lifetime. But La Jolla business owner Stephanie Montion Marquez has a found a way to provide them with a lasting memory.

Like many small business owners, Marquez was forced to close the doors to her hair salon. It didn’t take long until she found another way to fuel her creative spirit.

“What we do as stylists is instant gratification,” Marquez said. “They feel better, it’s all good energy and so when I’m there doing their photos, they’re so thankful, they’re so happy.”

She photographs various sports teams at La Jolla High School and knows most students. As a mother of two, she also understands the importance of senior seasons.

“Kids work so hard and it was kind of like, ‘What can I do?'” she said, “Let’s do this and you’re going to have this forever and it’s going to be fun.”

Marquez began snapping senior portraits from the comfort of student’s front porches.

La Jolla, Calif. resident Stephanie Montion Marquez setting up a portrait of a local graduating senior.

“It’s really cool just to see someone in the community being willing to come out here and do photoshoots for all of us,” La Jolla senior Sam Rudenberg said. “It’s really special.”

Rudenberg was a four-year varsity starter on the Vikings tennis team. He’s committed to play at Grinnell College next year, but says he’ll cherish the memories with his team which during his time in school were crowned three-time conference champions.

“It’s really sad that we missed our sports, but I think the one thing that I’ll look back on is having those last memories with the kids on my team because it’s really the people on your team who make it for you,” he said.

It’s a similar feeling for senior Isaac Schultz, a team captain on both the diving and lacrosse team. ⁠

“A lot of the stuff that we were hoping for after four years of high school ⁠— and I guess middle school if you’d count that ⁠— and just looking forward to being a senior and doing senior stuff and we just weren’t able to do any of those things,” Schultz said.

Schultz is headed to Cal to continue his lacrosse career.

“There’s not a lot of momentos from the season because there were only three games,” Schultz said, “so this is a nice thing to be able to look back on when I’m in college or with my future family.”

Marquez doesn’t charge much for the photos — instead, she says she’s just happy to help.

“I’m just doing this for them,” she said. “A lot of them order and I’ll charge a small editing fee so they can send it off to be printed but it’s really nothing and I’m just happy.”

“We all really appreciate it because without it there would be nothing else to remember but these pictures are really special,” Schultz said.

Just like the Class of 2020.

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