Stella Kuyumjian

Madera, California |

Artist Statement

As an artist who has been implementing her work to achieve what she loves as a photographer, I would like to share Stella’s story. Everyone has a story to tell, and that story can capture many feelings. Stella’s story happens to be unfortunate with a positive turnout. After many challenges and tribulations, she is still vulnerable daily by overcoming her obstacles with epilepsy, seizures, and depression while continuously working in an environment where she needs to show confidence and self-awareness to the public. Stella has learned to revive and pursue what sets her soul and fearless obstacles to the fullest. 

She has been suffering from epilepsy for twenty-two years but is in remission. Stella had brain surgery in May of 2010 and struggles with depression and speech impairment but is recovering. She tries to balance out her struggles with her family life and her strong belief in the Lord. While she was growing up, everyone in her environment was stifling her. She didn’t have anyone she could trust because everyone acted like their lives were ‘perfect,’ and she thought she was the outsider. It made her feel like she was the only one with problems in life. And that’s when Stella made a strong decision in her life to seek help. They say, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” and in Stella’s circumstances, she had been and still is in a recovery stage. When she started recovering from seizures, she thought about how much a person should and could learn. She hadn’t anticipated how much ‘anxiety’ contributes to her mind and soul. While going through mind games of feeling uncomfortable, she also went through feelings of stress and crying. Epilepsy and seizures are not something a person consciously decides to deal with daily. It is like an identity, where people are unaware of their actions. And in Stella’s case, she had started at the age of twenty-three without even knowing what she was going through. She felt comfortable as the endorphins in her body were being released, but as time passed, her mind started reminding her to control herself. In all retrospect, nobody could and will understand how she felt as a person and who she has become. The emotional strength that has overpowered her struggles with therapy and a strong-minded soul has let her leap her boundaries positively. 

Fall 2015 was when she first started to take pictures for the Intermediate Photography class. Whenever Stella photographed models, she felt comfortable and into her authentic self. Choosing to be a photographer allows her to take pictures and showcase them in a way that has never been seen before. As an Advocate for the Epilepsy Foundation, she goes to the yearly walks/5K runs and photographs people who are survivors and have epilepsy by showing their emotions with their families. 

Stella has become a much stronger, more understanding, positive, and patient young lady who loves to learn photography. The passion that she has for the arts reflects what she has learned in her youth. Whether on paper, canvas, or photography, Stella has grown to understand and apply the aesthetics of fine art. She is determined and passionate about continuing her knowledge in photography at a higher level. In May 2017, Stella graduated and received her Certificate in Photography from Moorpark College. She strives to keep her heart and mind fruitful to achieve a higher level in the arts. When Stella was a young girl, her grandmother told her, “When you grow up as an adult, you will learn from all your mistakes, and you will evolve into a beautiful young lady.” She didn’t understand then but is learning to understand. We must complete what we have started in our lifetime to make a difference and have others in the next generation evolve.