Lilly Cano was born in Puerto Rico to Cuban refugee parents, who fled there to escape Castro in the early 1960s. Being born in Puerto Rico made her the first American citizen in her family. Eventually, she and her family moved to Miami where she was raised.
At age 7, Lilly was given her first camera for Christmas. It was a Mic-A-Matic, also known as the Mickey Mouse camera. You would pull on his ear and it would take a picture. She spent Christmas morning in the backyard taking 24 photos of lizards, squirrels and avocados. Her parents would later drive her to Ekerds Drug Store where she dropped off her film in an envelope and anxiously waited two weeks for her film to be processed.
“The wonder, creativity and anticipation,” Cano recalled, “I fell in love with photography that day.”
She has since upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark IV digital camera and no longer has to wait two weeks for processing. Her subjects of choice these days are moose in Wyoming over lizards in Florida.
Cano attended Florida International University studying film production and photography and then went off to Stanford University enrolling in the Jules Dundes Mass Media Institute Program. After finishing her formal education, she took off for the “Big Apple” and lived and worked in New York City for the cinematographer’s union IATSE. She also worked at the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, NY.
Then she went off to the west coast to work in Los Angeles as a project manager at Nielsen. In 2018, Cano won first place in an Expedia photo contest and received an all expenses paid trip to Prague. Expedia used her winning photo of an old shipwreck on the Oregon Coast in their web advertisements and commercials.
“Being part of the Camera Guild has been a game changer,” she stated, “sharing common interests with other photographers is a lot of fun and inspiring, there is so much talent in our club! I especially enjoy the Saturday morning meetings where we all share our skills, our stories and our photos. It’s like Christmas all over again!”
View some of Cano’s photos, including her contest winner, at suncityaz.org/recreation/clubs/camera-guild-of-sun-city.