By Ray Huard
An eerie photo of an 11-year-old girl appearing as a shadowy figure on a darkened walkway, and a photo of a tattoo artist intently focusing on his work won two Vista High School seniors regional photography awards and a place in a national competition.
Isaac Tapia and Tyler Bobadilla-Wright were awarded the top prize of gold keys in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a non-profit based in New York that provides recognition and scholarships to high school students.
Their photos will be entered in the alliance’s national competition.
Vista High School seniors Kaylee Hughes and David Maynes were honored with silver keys for their photographs.
“I’m really proud,” said teacher Laura Olden. “This is the first year we’ve ever been awarded gold in the competition and we’ve got the most (photographs) we’ve ever had in the competition.”
Isaac Tapia's photo, "Scary Ghost," was awarded a gold key.
Isaac’s photo, entitled “Scary Ghost,” is meant to portray a haunting Halloween spirit. “I feel like when you see a ghost picture, most of them are the same,” Isaac said.
To get a different look, Isaac posed his sister, Anna, at night wearing a filmy dress, standing on a walkway outside his family’s apartment. The image of Anna is blurred, giving it an other-worldly effect, while the background is clear and in focus. Isaac shot the photo at slow speed while his sister moved back and forth.
“Isaac’s ghostly image was taken around Halloween, using a slow shutter speed,” Olden said. “There was quite a bit of planning, and some trial and error to get the effect he was looking to achieve. For Isaac, this image was a little different from his typical work, but he was able to experiment and with planning and executing a setup shot, and controlling technical aspects of an image for a more creative effect.”
“It took me almost an hour to get this picture,” Isaac said, experimenting with the timing of Anna’s movement. “She got a little frustrated,” Isaac said, adding that, because it was dark, “She was very scared.”
Isaac judged the end product “pretty OK,” and said he was surprised to win a gold key.
As much as he loves taking photos “to capture the moment,” Isaac said that he’s planning a career as a barber, partly because he’s gregarious and likes chatting with people, and, “It’s fun.”
Tyler Bobadilla-Wright's gold key winning image, "Permanent Story."
Tyler said that his photo, entitled “Permanent Story,” was, in a way, a tribute to tattoo artist Juan Ortiz, who is the subject of the photo. Ortiz “kind of motivated me to keep going on my photography,” Tyler said.
The photo shows Ortiz intently focusing on inking a tattoo on the left arm of Tyler’s 23-year-old brother, Justin. The photo is meant to show “someone doing what they love,” Tyler said.
“Tyler’s work often captures a moment that tells a greater story and this image is a prime example. He was able to capture the moment of his brother, Justin, getting a tattoo, but the angle of the image puts focus on the tattoo artist, Juan,” Olden said.
“You can see the pride Juan takes in his art as he works on Justin’s arm. Tyler used a wide angle setting to include the setting of the studio and showcase Juan’s own tattoos. The closeness of the shot makes you feel as though you are right there in the studio with them.”
Taking photos is one of Tyler’s loves, and he plans to take photography classes at Mira Costa College, but isn’t sure if that will lead to a career in photography.
“I definitely want it to always be a part of me,” Tyler said. He said he was “pretty honored” to get a gold key. “For them to look at mine as one of the top images was pretty cool, I thought,” Tyler said.
Kaylee Hughes image, "Shake," garnered a silver key award.
Kaylee said she was going for a mysterious and dark look in her photo, “Shake,” of classmate Guadalupe Barajas, shaking her head back and forth, her long hair creating a blurry image.
“I just had her start moving around to get it blurry,” Kaylee said. “I didn’t know what I was really expecting when I took the picture.”
Olden said Kaylee’s photo “is a graphic exploration of motion through the use of slow shutter,” adding that, “The subject’s movement is expressive and Kaylee’s use of space and the graphic line create a simple yet bold image.”
When she entered the competition, “I didn’t really expect anything from it,” Kaylee said. “I thought it was really cool when I saw I got the silver.”
Kaylee plans to major in cinema in college, although she’s not sure where. “I want to do editing for videos or directing or producing, probably like movies,” Kaylee said. “I have a lot of favorite movies. I think my favorite one that I recently saw was ‘La La Land.’”
"Shadows Cast," by David Maynes, was granted a silver key award.
David’s photo, “Shadow’s Cast,” shows three forks leaning against a white board. “The shadow of it kind of looks cool, kind of like an abstract idea,” said David, who also specializes in taking family portraits.
“It’s such a simple picture, I thought people would look at it and forget it,” David said. “When Mrs. Olden told me I got silver, I was pretty excited.”
The photo “shows David’s creative approach to a common object,” Olden said. “In his abstract image, he explores light, creating a dual image of the forks and contrasting shadow,” Olden said.
David often carries a camera with him, looking for people and things to photograph, and is hoping to turn his interest into a profession. “I want to go into photography as a career in the future, work for a magazine or something like that, or have my own photography business,” David said. “When I first started, it was not really a big thing to me. Once you take that first picture, you get hooked.”
The winning students shot their photographs in color, but printed them in black and white. “It’s more moody,” Olden said.
David said he likes black and white for the classic look it creates. “I like the old-fashioned look and style,” David said. “You see a lot of old photos in black and white.”