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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    An eye for detail

    Award-winning City College photographer Evan E. Duran having fun doing what he loves to do. | Kate Paloy |
    Award-winning City College photographer Evan E. Duran having fun doing what he loves to do. | Kate Paloy | [email protected]

    There are parts that he cannot completely remember, but July 12, 1998, is a date that Evan Duran will never forget.

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    At 18, Duran’s life took a monumental detour. He was driving his girlfriend home from a friend’s house around 11:30 p.m. when a car collided with his 1969 pearl white, vinyl- topped Mercury Cougar near the Marconi Avenue curve of the Capitol City Freeway.

    “We were hit from behind by a drunk driver. We veered, pushed off the road, hit a tree; the car caught fire,” Duran says.

    Two weeks later Duran woke up in the hospital from a medically induced coma and was given the news.

    “You’ve been in a car accident,” Duran remembers being told, “and suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of your body. You’re going to be here for a while.”

    He says it was a moment that shifted his perspective forever. Duran lived at Shriners Hospital for Children for almost six months and underwent burn rehabilitation and numerous skin grafts for the next three years.

    “I stopped counting after 20 [surgeries],” Duran says.

    Now 32, Duran is a photography major at Sacramento City College, as well as an award- winning photographer and former photo editor for the Express. He says school is a place where he can develop his perspective and his eye for capturing the moment one click at a time.

    Duran says he first developed a passion for photography in high school.

    “[My photography teacher at Sacramento High] was the most influential teacher in my life,” Duran says. “He really made me want to do something.”

    Duran says he did not realize his talent for photojournalism until he joined the Express. He quickly caught the attention of the Express adviser Randy Allen. Despite rising quickly to photo editor for the Express, Duran says it wasn’t until his photos were recognized in a statewide competition that he thought he should pursue it more seriously.

    At the Journalism Association of City Colleges California state convention on April 12, for example, the Express won fourth place for two submissions of Duran’s work in the online photo category and the photo illustration category.

    “It wasn’t until my JACC awards that I won, that I didn’t even know I was up for, when I realized—wow!—this is maybe something I should think about doing,” Duran says.

    Allen says he has confidence every time he sends Duran out on a photography assignment because of his ability to work independently and look at things in a slightly different way.

    “[Duran is] able to get across the idea of what he wanted to show you without a bunch of distracting other material,” Allen says.

    When Duran is out photographing an event, he says he is very careful about limiting his sun exposure. He wears long sleeves, hats and copious amounts of sunblock and lotion year round.

    “The burn area doesn’t sweat,” Duran says, “so there are parts of me that are extremely dry. It’s like leather.”

    Duran also shoots photos and video for a promotions and marketing company, Hall of Fame (HOF), run by his friend Curtis Currier. Currier says he has watched the evolution of Duran’s photography

    career for almost seven years.

    “He’s grown over the years,” Currier says. “His skills have gotten better in the

    filming as well.“

    They first hit it off when Duran filmed Currier skateboarding. Now Duran films parties and events hosted by HOF. Recently, Duran, along with HOF, put together a public service announcement against drunk driving.

    “It’s pretty graphic: pictures of my surgeries, pictures of the accident, the first time I showed up at Shriners,” Evan says.

    The video has caught the attention of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Duran has discussed appearing in an advertisement for the group.

    Duran hasn’t forgotten his time at Shriners Hospital. Whenever the hospital asks, he volunteers as a public relations liaison, a peer counselor for current patients, and a photographer at Shriners’ kids’ camp.

    Evan follows the example of his late grandfather, Douglas Busath, a local attorney, who volunteered at Shriners Hospital for Children for more than 10 years. For the last five years, Shriners has given the Douglas Busath Lifetime Achievement Award to a person who dedicates at least 10 years of volunteer service to the hospital and the community.

    Evan remembers asking his grandfather why he volunteered.

    “Shriners doesn’t ask for anything,” Duran’s grandfather told him. “No money or anything. This is the only way I can repay them for the care that they gave you.”

    Lillian Nelson, the volunteer services manager at Shriners Hospital, says, “Evan is just an amazing young man, and a wonderful photographer.”

    Nelson noted that Duran serves as a role model for current Shriners patients.

    “For all he’s been through, … he didn’t give up,” Nelson says. “He just met the challenges. He did not let his accident define him.”

    Duran, too, casts his challenges in a positive light.

    “I realized I didn’t lose anything,” Duran says, “I’m still alive. I still have all my hands and fingers, all my digits. I have my limitations, but that’s all they are limitations.”

    To check out Duran’s photos, visit:



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