Rei Linam: the man behind the camera


Image courtesy of Rei Linam

There is always something fascinating about a high school student finding their passion and excelling at it. Rei Linam has definitely found his interest and calling. Linam, a junior at South Lakes, takes photos for all Seahawk athletes, but doesn’t necessarily get the amount of praise he deserves. He doesn’t just take pictures, though; he has created a game that has been a huge success among students for his creativity. The majority of readers have seen his work on social media or elsewhere, but outside of the shoutouts he gets, he hasn’t really been asked in detail about photography and his game. That changes now: this is the interview of Rei Linam, the face behind the camera.

It all started with a birthday present. When Linam was gifted a camera for his 16th birthday, he began to take an interest in photography and taking pictures. He has tried to grow as a photographer and learn new tricks and tips to get better and better. His favorite sports to take pictures of are football and basketball, because they are local to him, and he knows a lot of the players well. 

Linam finds his inspiration where any teenager would: Instagram and the internet. These places are where he sees his favorite photographers post their work. He thinks photography is rewarding itself, but thinks the most rewarding part is more complicated than it seems on the surface. 

“Getting the experience and being able to understand all these things that go unnoticed. Like once you start taking pictures, you start realizing what makes other pictures so good and what makes some pictures better than others. To see a picture and understand why it’s so good is so unique and indescribable,” he explained.

The support he has gotten is something that amazes him every day, and it never gets old. The outreach was the driving force that kept him going in the beginning, and that is still what keeps him going to this day.

“I’d be lying if I told you that it’s not what kept me doing this. I really think that when someone comes up to me and says, ‘I really like your pictures’ and ‘Your pictures are so good,’ that makes me feel so good and makes me want to work harder,” Linam shared.

Rei is not just a photographer, though. He made a computer game, entitled GetSLHS, which is a different version of the popular game GetMIT. The way it started was how all great things start: an unintended accident. 

“I was just messing around in class, playing GetMIT, and I thought to myself, ‘What if we made this but with South Lakes pictures?’ and it just took off in a fashion I never expected,” he explained.

The game has become very popular, with students playing it on their laptops, much to the ire of teachers who have Rei to thank for making it harder to keep students on task. 

Image courtesy of Rei Linam

As for the future, well, Rei doesn’t want to talk about that. He is focused on the here and now and staying in the moment. “If an opportunity arises for me to take pictures or something like that in the future, of course, I’m going to take it, but if not, I’m not going to stress about it,” he revealed. 

Photography is a hobby for Linam, after all, and he treats it as such, even though he is very good at the hobby. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about it. Linam shared, “I really enjoy photography, and my favorite pictures have to be either the one that was featured in the Washington Post or the one of Joseph [Dagbe] after his buzzer-beater last season.” 

Rei Linam is known around the school as “the photography kid” and he relishes that nickname, as strange as it might sound. The nickname means he is known for his accomplishments and that is what he strives for: recognition. It’s not the acclaim he wants, even though he enjoys it. He wants to be the best photographer he can be, and he continues to push himself to new heights. As for “the photography kid”, there is more than meets the eye: he isn’t your typical photographer that strives for fame and a career in photography, he just wants to do what he loves. That he does, and there’s no denying that. Rei breaks stereotypes as far as what a high school student can achieve with a camera- inspiring others who follow in his footsteps.