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Intellect

BYU grad uses photography for a new perspective on immigration

As a senior graduating in design with an emphasis in photography, Mario Alcauter knows that a great photo is all about perspective.

For his senior capstone project, Alcauter created a photography exhibit titled “La Línea” or “The Line” when translated from Spanish to English. Alcauter’s photos, taken at the international border between San Ysidro, California and Tijuana, Mexico, capture the humanizing details of the immigration progress. Alcauter hoped the exhibit would spark discussion on how borders can divide us.


“People were becoming very polarized on the subject of immigration,” said Alcauter. “Either you loved it or hated it, and I wanted to give it a different perspective. It’s about trying to empathize and humanize people instead of making them into numbers and statistics.”

This project is especially personal to Alcauter. At the tender age of six, he immigrated to the United States from Mexico, and because of his experience, Alcauter understands the unique struggles with immigration.

Alcauter grew up in Visalia, California. As a teenager, he was introduced to Brigham Young University through the Summer of Academic Refinement (SOAR) program–a five-day college preparation program for multicultural students. Alcauter enjoyed the campus environment so much that he decided he wanted to study at BYU.

In high school, Alcauter was on the yearbook team and enjoyed taking photos, but as a freshman at BYU, he was uncertain how to transform that passion into a college degree. He hesitantly followed his passion and enrolled in the prerequisite classes for the photography program.

It was through the photography major that Alcauter connected his passion with a purpose.

“I learned about using your talents to help those who don’t have a voice,” Alcauter said. “You have to be open-minded and keep pushing forward.”

Alcauter’s appreciation for different ideas and viewpoints deepened as he gained experience inside and outside of the classroom.

“I think more than anything I have learned to talk to people, to communicate,” said Alcauter. “We should be passionate about our ideas and look for opportunities to convert them into reality.”

Alcauter is aware of the hard work required to make a career in a creative field like photography and is committed to his craft.

“You can’t be a mediocre artist and make good money,” he said. “You have to be proactive and do your best to create beautiful art.”

Following his graduation, Alcauter plans to continue his work at theFINDLab, a film developing and processing lab in Orem, Utah. He hopes to eventually move to Los Angeles and make photography a full-time career. Additionally, Alcauter would like to mentor Hispanic and Latino groups interested in creativity.

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