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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn senior creates the West Camera app

<p>Photo illustration using half of the effect provided by the app.</p>

Photo illustration using half of the effect provided by the app.

While most Auburn students are gearing up to tackle final exams and the end of the fall semester, one student at Auburn has been spending his semester hitting the books and managing the creation and success of his very own app. 

Andrew Sawyer, senior majoring in Computer Science and founder of the West photo editing app, said that the idea came to him during his freshman year here at Auburn and stemmed from his interest in photography. 

“Growing up, I’ve always been interested in photography, videography and editing,” Sawyer said, “I often wouldn’t want to take my real camera with me and have to edit all the photos once I got back home, I wanted a quicker way to get professional-looking photos without all the hassle.”

The West Camera app, now ranked #168 in the App Store, offers a chance to “capture and edit photos with handcrafted effects & film presets. Color photos with West 1000, 2000, 3000, and B&W. Grain and texture are applied to emulate real film,” per the official description from the App Store. 

Sawyer said that the idea for West came to him during his freshman year and has been a passion project that has developed into a business throughout his time as an Auburn student. 

“During my freshman year at Auburn, I started developing V1 of West. At the time, it was simple and only had a single filter,” Sawyer said. “Coming into college, I had some experience developing apps, but I still had a lot to learn.”

Sawyer said that his brother, Philip Sawyer, who graduated from Auburn with a degree in computer science in 2017, was a great help to him while developing the app and helped him to continue to improve the features of the app. 

“A year later, I released V2 with customizable filters, a new interface and more editing options for “West Pro” users,” Sawyer said. 

Sawyer said that the most special moment since creating the West app has been the app’s global reach.

“Seeing posts from people I don’t know using West is the coolest part,” Sawyer said. “From friends of friends to people around the world, it’s awesome to know that thousands use and enjoy West every day.”

 The number of users has been growing since the app was released 2020, with thousands of people currently using the app. 

“West has continued to grow ever since it was first released and it has been awesome to watch,” Sawyer said. “As of right now, West has been downloaded by 123K people and over 11 million photos have been taken.”

Not only has the West app been downloaded and used by thousands, but the app currently holds a 4.9/5-star average rating from over one thousand reviewers. 

As the Auburn Creed states, “I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully,” and it seems that Sawyer has used his experiences and time at Auburn to do just that.  

Kara Mautz | Culture Writer

Kara Mautz, senior in human development and family studies with a minor in journalism, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman.

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