This Thursday, Villano's will display the work of some really talented photographers--and most of the artists aren't even old enough to vote. That's because the works displayed are by the winners of the 4th Annual High School Photo Contest.
Craig Clark of CC Photography & Digital Design decided to start this contest a few years ago. "I had at the time a studio and gallery downtown and had done a couple of high school shows," he says. "I saw a lot of really good stuff and wanted to show the best of the best in a once-a-year contest."
In order to make his idea a reality, Clark began bringing other people on board in order to get better prizes for the contest and to make it bigger. In that spirit, Clark says that's why he turned the contest over to BW as of this year--so it can go on "in a bigger way" in future years and become something stronger. This is the first year with BW at the organizational helm.
The contest is open to all high schools in the valley. There have been up to eight schools participating in a given year and the big ones are usually Boise High, Timberline, Capital, Skyview (in Nampa), Eagle High, Meridian High and Mountain View. This year, as in the past, many students entered the contest--there were 151 submissions this year.
This year is the first since the contest's inception that Clark has been able to be a judge. In the past, he's been too busy with the organizational side of the contest, but this year, with BW taking over, he took a lesser role in the contest's organization and was able to fill other roles, like judging. "I was a sponsor this year and plan to be a sponsor next year--and if BW wants me as a judge next year, I'd be happy to judge again."
This year's contest judges were Leila Ramella, art director at Boise Weekly; Keith Walklet of Quietworks Photography (donor of the mats for the images and current president of the Idaho Photographic Workshop, contributor of $150 in prize money); and Clark.
Many of this year's entries--not just the top photos--are both visually appealing as well as innovative. Says Clark, "The students are really talented and come up with some interesting ways of handling photographic problems."
The top 18 images (first, second and third place in three divisions with three categories each) will be matted and framed for the First Thursday exhibition at Villano's. The rest of the entries will be placed in binders for viewing--that way, everyone who entered the contest gets their work seen. "Judging is a subjective thing," says Clark. "This lets people know what all was entered and they can make up their own minds. Everyone may not agree with the judges picks."
In addition, the students have a choice of whether to sell their photos ($25 for a print and $35 for a matted print, excluding the top 18) and most of the images are for sale. If a print sells, the artist gets to keep the money. In fact, all the money generated--from sponsors and even the $1 entry fee--goes back to the students in prize money. This year there was about $500, as well as other non-monetary prizes.
"This contest is an opportunity for students to show off their best work," says Clark, "and hopefully get a little money, too."
This year's first place winners are:
Division: Color; Category: Person--Kali Gibbons for her entry, Collar Bone.
Division: Color; Category: Place--lyssa Lapuh for her entry, Roosted.
Division: Color; Category: Thing--Sarah Machacek for her entry, Butterfly.
Division: Monochrome; Category: Person--Katie Hagadone for her untitled entry.
Division: Monochrome; Category: Place--Joe Kelly for his entry, Rocks.
Division: Monochrome; Category: Thing--Jenny Bowler for her entry, Play Thing.