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Katrina Estrada poses at the cactus garden outside of Zimmerman Library on April 22.

Estrada’s creativity knows no bounds

“I was like, ‘F*ck, I’m not getting a job,’” Katrina Estrada said about her 2022 interview to be a freelance photographer at the Daily Lobo – during which she burst into laughter when a pigeon attacked then photo editor Mackenzie Schwartz.

A week later, she was hired. She soon became the multimedia editor, and later, the photo editor. She graduates from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in film this spring.

“I chose film because I’ve always been in love with the art. I think it started with my love for photography that started at a very young age, and then it blossomed into wanting to delve into other visual medias,” Estrada said.

Estrada is from Silver City, New Mexico. She opted to attend UNM partly because of its proximity to home, and said Albuquerque feels like its “own little world” inside the state.

At UNM, she learned about the power of film and its symbiotic relationship with history, she said.

“It’s crazy impactful. I think that’s also why I wanted to go into film. As a woman of color from rural New Mexico, my life and the way I tell stories, and the way I perceive the world, and the fears that I’ve had of the world or the things that I love about the world, are very different,” Estrada said.

At the Lobo, Estrada photographed sports, protests and any last-minute Sunday captures needed for stories. She also inspired friend and reporter Marcela Johnson to join the newsroom.

“(Estrada) has so much knowledge and she’s so willing to share it,” Johnson said. “I’m not a photographer, but she’s been so helpful to me in communicating with photographers about what I want.”

Estrada’s favorite part of her time at the Lobo was the comfort and security shared amongst the staff, she said.

“All the times I doubted myself or was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no one in this city takes us seriously because we’re a student newspaper’ … It was nice to have people there to be like, ‘No, we matter.’ Our voices matter; the stories we tell our audience matter,” Estrada said.

Her advice for any creatives in college is to not take their craft – or themselves – too seriously, she said.

“A lot of photography and film, or photojournalism and video journalism – there’s a sort of prestige within it, inherently built off of the backs of people who claim they’ve created the art, which are white, heterosexual, cisgender men, and they take themselves way too seriously,” Estrada said.

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Estrada puts thought and love into her creative ventures and everything she does, her longtime friend Kai Warrior wrote.

“Her art, her words and her presence are such beautiful beaming lights and you are lucky to know her if you do,” Warrior wrote.

After graduation, Estrada plans to travel to Chicago, then return to Albuquerque in July and begin various photography projects she has planned. She wants to continue story-telling without being limited to one medium, she said.

Estrada also wants to work in film at some point, and is prepared for the work she said it will take.

“I think one of the biggest lessons I learned through the Lobo was that if you do something or walk into a place that you don’t think you belong in with enough confidence, no one really tells you no,” Estrada said. “I think that could be applied to a lot of different things.”

Lily Alexander is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at on Twitter @llilyalexande

Lily Alexander

 Lily Alexander is the 2024-2025 Editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @llilyalexander 

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