Stefano Palterra “Marcus Aurelius said it best: ‘As Emperor, Rome is my homeland. But as a man, I’m a citizen of the world.’”

On the last few nights before he left his native Rome for SMC, Stefano Palterra would drag himself—and his cameras—back home in the wee hours of the morning. “Mama said to me, ‘What are you doing out so late these nights?’” he recalls with a laugh. “And I told her, ‘Mama, I’m just making love to Rome one last time!’” The results of his final forays in the Eternal City were the subject of a photo show that Stefano presented on Melrose.

“It’s wonderful to see how people react to my photography. And those photos of Rome are timeless: no lights, no cars, in the rain with all the reflections. Those streets are truly out of time. Ah, I miss Rome,” adds Stefano, a little wistfully. But fortunately, Stefano has had little time to think gloomy thoughts since he arrived at SMC and began work with the Corsair staff; work he hopes will lead him to assignments with National Geographic.

“I had one of my pictures—of Coach Tommy Smith and the SMC track—on the front page my first week at the Corsair,” says Stefano with enthusiasm. “And soon, we’re going to a competition in Fresno with all the other community college papers, which will be a lot of fun. But beyond what I’m learning at the Corsair,” he adds, “is all that I am experiencing in SMC’s Photography Department. The teachers there have very strong personalities, but they give you so much in terms of what it means to be a photographer. And for me,” he adds, “nothing could be better than to travel the world and learn about new cultures. I think it’s going to be a great way to spend a life.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.