Capturing moments and memories with @rocksbluecam on Instagram

Roco Contreras uses a digital camera to chronicle his senior year


At a spirit rally at lunch, ASB President Roco Contreras was pied as the “prize” to a game of popping balloons. Senior Angel Izaguirre captured the moment after the pieing, via Rocksbluecam. “I feel this picture justifies the chance of living in the moment,” Contreras said. “It’s off guard, it’s random, it’s being present.”

Memories are vital to capture because they remind you of what’s good, or bad, and allow you to value current life all the more. Ironically, it can be difficult to take a picture to capture a memory since you have to be living in it. 

Roco Contreras, the ASB President, has found the way to capture people in the present and in a genuine way.  Contreras owns a blue Samsung SL605 that’s accompanied by a joint Instagram account with the handle @rocksbluecam. The purpose of the camera and account is to “show people, not just through yearbook, but schoolwide throughout the year,” Contreras said.  In other words, Contreras wanted to reveal authentic student life, not through unnatural Instagram posts, but through digital photography from his camera. 

His inspiration was Kayla Marin’s account, with the handle @photos_by_anonymouz, that had a similar concept the previous school year. “I found it [the account] quickly because I had anonymous for chemistry, saw the profile a day later and my idea clicked,” Contreras said.

Rocksbluecam has been around since last June. This blue camera taking pictures stands out since everyone has a phone they can take photos with, but they can take multiple photos to get the perfect one. People are interested in this account because it’s spontaneous (with rare retakes), and uploads can be anything for Alisal students to see. Contreras works the account by taking random pictures, selfies, or moments of school-related events. Everything that isn’t remotely blurry gets uploaded to Instagram. Roughly 860 pictures have been uploaded, in 160 posts total, on the account.

The idea of the camera and account was spur of the moment, “I thought it was just going to be popular between the ASB kids, but for it to go over for more underclassmen that’s out of control,” Contreras said, “I never thought I would get it to this point.” As of this month, the account and fame of the camera has risen him to having over 400 followers on Instagram.  The account has been promoted through small mentions in Contreras’ personal Instagram stories.  

Students featured in images tend to repost their pictures on their stories to their followers as well, unintentionally boosting the account.  “I repost because he’s my friend, I want to support him, and I like the pictures,” junior Sebastian Soto said.  Many people follow because they want to relive moments.  “I started following because I can look back at everything that happened this year,” senior Marlen Gabriel said.  Senior Kevin Ruiz, who also follows the account, said “I have to support [Roco], it’s cool just looking back at all the memories.”

Eventually everyone wanted to be in the pictures Contreras was posting which made it tiring for him to be everywhere all the time. This is why he started to hand off the camera to friends to take their own photos. He chooses who to let borrow the camera through a trust process, “People I feel wouldn’t destroy the camera, or lose it, I give it to them,” Contreras said. The first person who had this opportunity was Brissa Rocha, also from ASB. “My experience with Rocksbluecam was really cool, not only did I take pictures of people but I also met them and most were really nice,” Rocha said. She took pictures and selfies at a basketball game for the first time which she really enjoyed. “It made me happy, and it made Roco happy to be able to see everybody coming together to take a picture,” Rocha said. Once Contreras saw the success, he lent more people the camera. The most recent with the blue camera was Johanna Perez. “I tried to be genuine in taking pictures by taking many of friends around,” Perez said, since there’s no restrictions of what to take.  

Currently, there are 146 archived posts, but for a reason.  “At the end of the year, I’ll bring them all back to their originality,” Contreras said, “Not only did I want to free up space and show the ones that I recently took, but just [emphasize] how moments can’t always be seen.”  He admits he wants people to live in the current moment; there’s time for reflection later.  The old posts will be released on the Class of 23’s graduation day.  

Despite many juniors asking for management of the account and camera, Contreras is leaning toward “archiving it as a whole because moments got to be shared only once to not lose that value.”  While the year is coming to an end, “I am looking forward to seeing the underclassmen make their own camera accounts,” Contreras said.