West Port High School
Taylor Cavanaugh’s photographs of often gritty, uncomfortable subjects are still beautiful and often mesmerizing. As Karin Gunn, a teacher at her school states, Taylor has an “ability to pay close attention to timing, facial expressions, and lighting …to allow her to vividly capture moments”. We can’t take our eyes from her photos, despite the sometimes painful subject matter. The photographs she submitted for the competition, of burned and abandoned houses, of an older Mexican woman, a homeless man, and even of a Civil War re-enactment, are varied and unique. They all, however, demonstrate a “strong ability to notice and capture simple moments that intrigue and touch the general public”. That is the goal of every photojournalist. Along with her interest in photography, Taylor is also involved in cheerleading and a member of many clubs at school, including debate and the Key Club.
McKinney High School
Emily Judd, who attends McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas, finds that “…there truly is something magical about taking pictures. The idea that I can capture a moment in time forever evokes an excitement and passion inside of me”. Emily, who is on the yearbook staff at school and has served as photo editor, overseeing 16 other photographers, has had her work featured in the yearbook, as well as the school newspaper and in a district-produced calendar. The photos she entered with her application seem intimate and capture each of her subject’s personalities and emotions. A shot of a child at the Kentucky State Fair shows his excitement at a booth while another detailed photo of a child with Spina Bifida demonstrates her dancing, despite her disability. As Emily’s teacher, Lori Oglesbee, says: “Her photos are always fresh and never replicas of a previous shoot. She analyzes each event looking for the unique angles and the emotions of high school life”.
Georgetown High School
Angie Rushing, who is on the yearbook staff at her high, has also been working for her local paper, the Williamson County Sun, for several years as a stringer for the sports section. A very accomplished photographer for someone so young, she has also had her work hang in galleries and has sold photos to family and friends. Angie’s shots of various sporting events truly capture the love and passion that these players – mostly high school students – feel for the game. Her photograph of a soccer goalie, just after losing the game, is truly heartbreaking. Kerry Jo Smith, a teacher at Angie’s school, says Angie “has an eye for visual appeal along with verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills; she is able to create impressive creative work and is able to articulate her ideas in a poised and confident way”.
Chadsey High School
Gordon Alexander, one of Camille Williams’ teachers, describes her as “always a willing learner in exploring the ideas of not only photography, but understanding how she can be a part of a program that gives to others”. Like every good photojournalist, she wants to take not only good shots, but ones that reach out to others and teach them something about an event, place or person. The photographs Camille submitted for this competition are all quite different, but all intriguing. She has a beautiful interior of a church and a downtown building in Detroit, and several black and white shots that she took at the Detroit Festival of the Arts. One, of a performance, is so unusual, it almost looks like a still from an old black and white movie. Camille is an exceptional young lady, both as a person and photojournalist. Again from Gordon Alexander: “I have seen her skills grow with each session that she is a part of “.
Trinity High School
Agnes Wysowski, who attends Trinity High School, in Euless, Texas, submitted photos of a trip she took to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, in Poland. One photograph is of a pile of eyeglasses, stripped from people entering the camp by the Nazis; another is of crutches and prosthetics that were taken from the victims. Perhaps the most searing one, though, is of a farmer on his wagon, passing in front of the camp. It shows a beautiful, pastoral scene against the backdrop of past atrocities. Agnes, as a budding photojournalist, wants to capture history and let us never forget events of the past. “What we can do is know our history and never even inch toward genocide in our actions”.
Elizabeth Thomas, from Knox College in Illinois, was the winner of the College Still Photography scholarship ($2,000 payable to her school). Elizabeth, who has designed her own major in Visual Communications, with an emphasis on photography and a double minor in Spanish and journalism, likes to travel and uses her camera to capture people and places from her trips. “When I looked at all of the places I had seen, I realized that my photos not only told a story, they made history, and they made art”. Through her photography, she wants to create art, but more importantly, she wants to show her viewers the world and teach them something about other countries and cultures. David Amor, a teacher from Knox College, says that Elizabeth “has an acute perceptiveness about and sensitivity to the lives of her ‘subjects’ – identifying quickly what is important to them – which she combines with a distinctive perspective of her own”.
Juan Antonio Elizondo
The University of Texas at Austin
Juan Antonio Elizondo, one of two winners of a $2,000 scholarship (payable to his school) for video work, says that “sharing information and making history for others to view is my passion. I love engaging with people and becoming educated about how my neighbors and community interact with one another”. A wonderful example of this is his video of the University of Texas at Austin Fencing Team. It engages us in a sport most of us probably know very little about. The interviews and action scenes are exceptionally well executed, and the professional, careful editing brings the entire piece together. A reference letter from Steve Gonzales, Director of Photography at the Houston Chronicle, where Juan worked, states that “When I first met Juan four years ago he approached me with the thirst of wanting to learn. He told me about his passion to become a photojournalist and it is obvious to say, Juan is taking his dreams in his desired direction and turning them into reality”.
The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Natasia Gascon, from The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, was also a winner for college video work ($2,000 payable to her school). Natasia’s love for photojournalism began with a desire to update her high school’s antiquated Web site. Before she knew it, she was in the school’s technology club and was later given the job of school videographer. She then became a line producer for their monthly television news show and produced awardwinning documentaries while still in high school. She moved to Los Angeles to attend The Art Institute of California and further her studies and career. Omar Gonzalez, one of the teachers at her college, writes: “Her passion for the medium is sincere and evident in the execution of each of her projects. Take for example the first video she did in my class. It was a personal documentary about how she grew to love the small town she reluctantly moved to as a teenager. She poetically photographed the town and got the audience involved in her story”.