Behind the Paper: Yousuf El-Jayyousi


Carmen Ramirez

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On this edition of Behind the Paper, we learn about senior Yousuf El-Jayyousi, the photo editor for The Rock and BearingNews. I met Yousuf in eighth grade, and by the time the year was over, he was a good friend of mine. He’s full of sass and has lame jokes, but everyone on staff loves him anyway. I think he is a great photographer and a hard worker, and I hope you see it as well.
Tell me a little about yourself (i.e. hobbies, family, pets, etc.).
“I was born in Columbia, Mo. at the age of zero. When I was two years old, my family moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE where we lived for seven years, allowing me the opportunity to grow up learning both Arabic and English. My dad’s Palestinian, and my mom is American.
“I love photography, especially portrait photography. I really enjoy talking with people about what they want for their photos and trying my best to bring their idea to life.
“When I’m not in the journalism room, I’m working on my Engineering Development and Design Capstone project. We’re developing an automated workshop cleaning robot to reduce the costs of cleaning on companies and reduce the hazards present in a workshop.
“I also spend lots of time with my FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics team, Army Ants Robotics. We design, build, program and test a 120 pound robot in the span of six weeks every year to compete with. We also hold a lot of [science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or] STEM, camps for the youth in our community. So I spend a lot of time working on designing the robot, organizing the team, creating schedules for the meetings and just trying to make sure everything runs smoothly on the team.
“I am also a martial artist. I am currently a shodan (first degree black belt) in Shorin-ryu karate. I’ve been doing karate for eight years and spend upwards of nine hours training per week. I teach karate classes and also give private lessons. I have also been competing for about five or six years and have won over fifty placements at tournaments.
“I like to eat peanut butter straight from the jar and always have a jar in the side of my backpack. I have a seven year old cat named Beo who freaks out when I’m not home.”
What is your position on staff?
“Photo editor. I organize our team of photographers, assigning them certain photos and helping them along the way to learn new photography techniques. I am also the person half the staff goes to to rant, so call me a teapot because I’ve got ALL the tea.”
Why do you like taking photos?
“There’s something really exciting and satisfying about imagining a photo and then figuring out how to make it happen and then editing the photos to make them even more stunning. Even though we live in a time where everyone has a camera on their phone, people definitely enjoy having a real professional-looking photo taken.”
When did you start doing photography?
“As far back as I can remember. I used to have a small camera that could fit on half of your palm that took a single AAA battery and could hold nine photos at once. I overworked that camera so much that the batteries started leaking acid like five times. My family then got a small digital camera, which soon became almost entirely used by me. I started messing with more professional cameras when Rochita gave me her camera to create a newspaper portfolio.”
What is your favorite part of newspaper class?
“Having a team of people working together for the same goal, each member bringing something unique to the table in order to create the best design, best photo, best art possible for each page. And that team gets along so well that we’re basically a family and community that just has fun together. Even if we’re not working on newspaper, most of us still hang around each other, which I think speaks to how well we work together.”
What made you want to join newspaper?
“I was starting to want to buy a nicer camera my sophomore year when I found out from Rochita that newspaper wanted photographers for the upcoming year. So I found out that I needed to create a portfolio of photos, which I didn’t really have any of people type photos. So Rochita gave me her camera to borrow for a few months, and I put together a portfolio that got me in.”
Do you plan to take newspaper or journalism in college and/or pursue a career in that field?
“Depending on the school I go to, I might freelance or join their newspaper to be a photographer. However, I do not plan on pursuing photojournalism as a career, as I plan to become an engineer. However, I think I will always use photography as a side job and hobby, which will also help me make money throughout college.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]