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Aseem Mangaokar ’15

Name: Aseem Mangaokar
Major: Economics
Minor: Critical Theory and Social Justice
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Class year: Sophomore

Why He’s a Campus Celebrity:
Aseem considers himself a facebook pirate, but he is also personable, gregarious, the creator of Oxy Memes, and a photographer (check out: “facebook.com/AseemMangaokarPhotography” – he considers himself lucky because he gets to take pictures of his friends). He just has a natural eye to capture the best in his subjects.

Why did he choose to go to Oxy?:
When Aseem was initially selecting colleges, it was one of the few names of colleges on a list that his college counselor handed him. He knew nothing about it prior to visiting and when he visited, his tour guide and interviewer gave him a quick insight on what the campus and community had to offer which played a major factor in his decision to go to Oxy. He visited when no one was here, so if “I liked the school when it was empty, it proved as a sign that I would like it when there were people on campus. Oxy was the perfect small liberal arts school for me.”

Moving on to the Oxy memes! What prompted you to begin making them?:
Aseem was working late in the library last spring semester and while taking a little break on Facebook, his friend showed him the University of Wisconsin-Madison memes and suggested that he make Oxy memes. That night at 2am he made the first three and made his friends administrators on the Facebook page so they could join in on the fun. He considered it as a “great method of procrastination” and believes that “Memes are a forum that help students express their frustration, amusement, and quirks of the campus, daily student life, and the idiosyncracies of the school.”

Fun Fact: The Oxy Memes page received 300-400 likes on the first night at 2am. It then ended up reaching 1300 likes.

What extracurricular activities does he participate in on campus?

  • Phi Kappa Psi – social chair
  • Oxy South Asian Student Association
  • Art lab – a group of art enthusiasts that get together every week to do creative projects
  • Runs a film, photography and music blog along with Kyle Scoble, a senior at Oxy (who created the blog cardinalpointwest.com that was started in January 2012 – check it out!!)

When and how did he get into photography?
He got his first camera as a present on his 18th birthday and started messing around with it while learning how to use it. When he came to college, his friend Melissa wanted him to take photos of her. Before that, he had never worked in close proximity with a subject. From there, he ball started rolling and he started to photograph and experiment with photography more and more.

How does he find inspiration and subject matter for your photographs?:
“Oxy is a beautiful place to take photographs at. Not only are the students attractive, but there are ideal places on campus such as The Greek Bowl, Mt. Fiji, behind lower Herrick that serve as great backgrounds. In Los Angeles, there are so many hours of sunlight that provide a lot of time and flexibility in terms of lighting.

How he describes his method of photography:
He photographs in a very unapologetic way because it doesn’t compromise the mood, emotion, or moment that he’s capturing. For instance, in Singapore people don’t like having their photo taken. Street photography everywhere is great because people are enamored by the camera. He then brings a street photography attitude and studio portrait technique to his photographs because it’s the best of both worlds – he can’t deal with staying static and this technique makes the process a lot more fun.

His cool jobs/experiences:

  • Currently photographs for the Oxy weekly
  • This summer, he was getting his film camera serviced and randomly talked to this guy who turned out to be a photographer for National Geographic in India. He was doing a shoot with Ferrari in Italy invited Aseem to come along! Though it sounded like a once in a lifetime experience, Aseem turned it down.
  • He had his first shoot with professional models and realized that models are stuck up…in India at least.
  • Got food poisoning in India for eating street food – lived in Bangalore for the first 9 years of his life and moved to Singapore, then to Indonesia and back to Singapore and because of this, his immune system got soft and got sledgehammered when attempting to eat street food.

Best Experience he has had in LA:
It’s a tie between rushing for Phi Psi and going to a Porter Robinson and Madion concert.
A great experience for Aseem was rushing for Phi Psi because, “I did it on a whim and got so much out of it than I ever imagined because you enter a network that has been around for 150 years, made for you and has been there with brothers around the world that can be asked of anything. I always loved to have a close group of friends because they keep you in check and my brothers do that for me.”
He also considers the concert a memorial experience because his friend sent him a video of the artists and they all ended up buying tickets to go to the concert..which was the next day! He said that it was “…incredible and mindblowing because I got so much techno for a lot less money that I would have paid for in Singapore.”  

Photo Source: Aseem’s own

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