Mari Inagaki

Student Spotlight: Mari Inagaki

September 22, 2021 Torrance

Mari Inagaki believes that photography connects people and helps them see things from another perspective. That philosophy served her well as she captured a behind-the-plate image of an El Camino softball pitcher delivering a fastball to a batter during a playoff game last spring.

The image ran in The Union, the student newspaper, and transports the viewer into the action, right behind the plate. Judges on a national panel were also impressed and named Inagaki’s photo, “Making the Pitch,” a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award winner in sports photography. The annual award program honors the best in collegiate journalism across the country. The competition offers 51 categories in newspapers, magazines, photography, radio, television, and online journalism.

“Winning this award is very encouraging,” said Inagaki, senior staff photographer for The Union and a photography major. “I just want to do my best for each photo.” 

Inagaki brings this attitude to every assignment and enjoys the camaraderie of being a part of The Union newspaper staff and working in the darkroom. She chose to attend El Camino College more than two years ago because of the photography degree program and credits the students and faculty of the El Camino journalism program for her growth as a photographer.

“At The Union, we work with wonderful professors who have a lot of experience,” she said. “They are there, ready to give me good advice and support. And The Union staff is a nice group to work with.”

Inagaki’s future plans include transferring to a university, where she will continue her studies as a photography major.

“For me, photography is the window to connect to society and the mirror that reflects myself,” she said. “I want my photos to mean something. Photography enriches my life and makes me want to learn more.” 

Photo by Mari Inagaki

Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

Mari Inagaki’s photo “Making the Pitch,” recently won the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award in sports photography. The image features Warriors softball pitcher Jocelyn Hernandez delivering a pitch against San Diego Mesa during a playoff game last spring.