Capturing the man behind the camera


Eden Santos

Getting the perfect shot: Senior Gabriel Stamat crouches down to take Varsity Boys Basketball photos.

Senior Gabriel “Gabe” Stamat is used to being behind the camera, capturing the drama and dynamism of high school sports. To him, photography and documentation through film is personally fulfilling and it allows him to give back to his sport. Though somewhat new to an art that many spend years mastering, he has already amassed a deep knowledge of technique and editing ability.
It all happened by chance his sophomore year. His father, who usually took photos at Gabe’s cross country and track meets, let Gabe give it a shot, and the rest is history. Stamat, who has grown up with photographer and graphic designer parents, seems to have inherited both abilities. Initially, Stamat was just a photographer but after joining Broadcast Journalism, he grew to appreciate videography and editing.
In spring of 2022, a plan began to form in his mind of embarking on a personal passion project: documenting the upcoming, and for Stamat, his final, cross country season. “The team is full of different personas – energetic ones, depressed ones, the gotta-get-it-right ones. My mission was to highlight them all,” Stamat said.
The season was full of twists and turns that made for great documentary material. “One moment that stood out was my teammate winning state. It can’t get any better than that. It was the climax, and I feel so lucky to have gotten to capture it,” Stamat said.
From the start, his documentary had been titled “Road to State,” and then it quite literally captured the process of becoming a state champion.
The documentary was not without challenges, however. Stamat typically makes short Youtube videos that take around a day to edit and film at most, so making an hour and a half documentary was a venture into unfamiliar territory. Having patience was not easy, but it certainly paid off in the end. “I filmed for about seven months and did one month of editing. One of the hardest parts after getting the footage was deciding where the story would go. I could see a hundred different stories being made out of the same footage,” Stamat said.
His documentary blew his teammates away when shown at a premiere party on Jan. 6. “I was pleasantly surprised, Gabe did a great job, and it appeared very professional,” sophomore teammate Mackenzie Juza said.
Senior cross country runner Jessica Shinkawa was also impressed. “You can tell he put a lot of time into it, and it was cool that he lent out the GoPro on runs, so you could see others’ perspectives,” Shinkawa said.
All the commotion over Stamat’s latest project has people asking for another. Stamat is considering making a documentary for his senior track season too.
“There are rumors that I am doing a track documentary, which I can neither confirm nor deny, however I can tell you that I plan to continue taking photos for the Iliad and Yearbook, and making short Youtube videos. Toning it down to a smaller scale is a big stress reliever,” Stamat said.
His documentary can be viewed on his Youtube channel: theAgentWaffle, divided into several chapter videos.