The winners of the 2018 Washington State High School Photography Competition (WSHSPC) are now on exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). The traveling exhibit was previously featured at Wallingford Frame Central in June and July. The exhibit will be at the SAM throughout December and at Kenmore Camera in January and February.
The annual photography competition originated in the mid-1980s and was formed by a group of high school photography instructors. The early competitions included a handful of high schools and a few hundred entries.
Now, in 2018, 1,531 students from 66 schools participated in the competition, totaling to 3,914 entries.
The competition is open to any student grades 9-12 currently enrolled in a public, private or alternative high school in Washington State.
Of the entries, 33 students made it into the top three places across 12 categories. Best in show received $250, first place winners received $100, and six images from the exhibit were selected by Jones Soda and featured on a run of 250,000 of their soda bottles.
The compeition is sponsored by Museum Quality Framing, Canon USA, Jones Soda Company, Photographic Center Northwest, and Kenmore Camera.
Mount Si High School sophomore, Cole Quinn, received second place in the camera phone category for his photo of David Bowie at the MoPOP in Seattle.
“Right when you enter the exhibit, there’s a long hallway about 10 yards long with banners of his face. When you turn around after entering it, the faces on many of the posters down the hallway and the adjacent room next to it,” Quinn said. “When I took it, I didn’t think much about it, as I wanted to focus on the exhibit more. When I got the time to look at it in post however, I was impressed with the shot and kept it in my camera roll for a while.”
He said he was astonished when he learned he received second place.
“I personally thought some of my other photos I turned into other categories were better, but the judges liked this one. I was also happy because it is something I can put in my resume and college profile,” he said.
Kaia Wise of Inglemoor High School won first place in the animal category for her photo of her dog. She said she’s grateful to her photography teacher, Robert Flye and her late father for encouraging her creativity.
“This photo was taken December 2017 when my mom, her boyfriend and I went to Tonga Ridge on a jeep run to get a tree for Christmas and I was playing with our dog in the snow. I needed to take pictures for my photography class, so I had brought my camera,” Wise said. “I originally took that class because my dad was an artist and taught me to always be creative. He died four years ago and I wanted more of a connection to him, so I took that class to have an output for my creativity. I’m so proud to have won first in the Animal category because animals are my passion, and I love dogs with all my heart. (I’m) very grateful to Mr. Flye for pushing me to enter this photo and encouraging me.”
One of the judges, Clair Garouette, an associate professor and director of photography at Seattle University said students who enter into the competition should feel proud of themselves and their work.
“Entry work in this competition in and of itself is an accomplishment. To think of your work as something worthy for other people to see and to stay with it,” she said. “Photography is a way of life, and it’s a joy, and if you keep that joy and to be in that process is pretty precious, so I encourage them to keep doing that.”
Other students who were among the 33 placed include:
• Rachel Graham of Inglemoor High School-first place in abstract
• Chloe Person of Inglemoor High School-second place and third place in abstract
• Erin Spencer of Newport High School- first place in still life
• Kyle Hoffman of Issaquah High School-second place in landscape and Seattle Sounders FC Choice Award recipient
• Wennan Ma of Newport High School-third place in landscape and Jones Soda Choice Award Recipient
• Samuel Leung of Newport High School-first place in people
• Brooke Bennett of Bellevue High School–second place in people
• Itzel Robledo-Figueroa of Inglemoor High School-third place in people
• Anna Schiferl of Mount Si High School-third place in manipulation
• Nolan Wright of Mount Si High School-third place in camera phone.