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High School Students Honored for Photography

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Nathalie Molina dangled a piece of turkey in front of her cat’s head to capture the winning photo image in the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus art show.

Molina, 16 and a junior at Montgomery Blair High School, needed to find a way to keep still her tuxedo cat named Milo. She also wanted her image of Milo to invoke curiosity since “curiosity” was the theme of this year’s show. So rather than have Milo stare straight ahead, Molina held the turkey off to the side so Milo would gaze with wonder.

Molina titled her piece Feline Sights. It was one of the 247 works Montgomery County Public School students submitted to the art show. Of those, jurors selected 56 to be showcased. Six students won prizes. The works will be on exhibit at the Hopkins Montgomery County Campus through May 10. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

An opening reception for the exhibit was held on campus in March. Parents, students and community residents gathered to view the art and hear the winners announced.

Molina has enjoyed photography since taking a class freshman year. She used her Canon Rebel T6 to capture her winning image. She said she was surprised she won and looks forward to studying photojournalism in college. (And yes, she knows the saying about curiosity killing the cat.)

The exhibit is one of JHU’s programs designed to get young people excited about STEAM education. The A in STEAM is for “art,” an important component of a well-rounded student’s education. (STEAM is an acronym for Science-Technology-Engineering- Art-Mathematics.)

The judge was local designer Michael Auger.

Here are his remarks: Feline Sights jpeg.jpg

First Place: Feline Sights  by Nathalie Molina of Montgomrey Blair High School.
Auger: They say curiosity killed the cat and this piece “killed” in many ways. Choices in design were made to accentuate various contrasting elements including the juxtaposition of black and white, negative and positive space, and grayscale with a pop of vivid green color. It’s these opposing tensions which elevate the piece from a simple feline portrait to an artistic eye-catcher.

2nd Place: Watch Your Back  by Zoe Zindash of Quince Orchard High SchoolWatch Your Back.jpg
Auger: I appreciate the composition and saturated color of this piece, but it’s the amount of story it captures that make it so successful. As the sun dips into the magical time of twilight a girl in a red-hooded cloak has caught sight over her shoulder of… something. Is the dark blur in the foreground a wolf?  The viewer can’t help but be curious. How will this fairy-tale end?

3rd Place: Into the Woods  by Marcus Johnson of Northwest High School Into the Woods.jpg
Auger: This setting of this third piece is also an unexpected encounter in the deep, dark woods.  Where many would only see a tree, an artists’ creativity allows them to see a strange monster and, by simply adding a pair of white flares for eyes, the photograph is transformed and the curious vision is shared with all viewers.   

Honorable Mentions:
Coco  by Ana Gutierrez of Winston Churchill High School
Auger: Man’s best friend is often as curious as a cat. In addition to capturing the theme of curiosity in the dog’s expression, I appreciate the composition and cropping of this piece which guide the viewer’s eye as well as the color juxtaposition of complementary colors.

Curious Lines  by Noah Karst of Northwest High School Curious Lines.jpg
Auger: This piece was fascinating in a number of ways. The corrupted digital nature of the broken lines, the blending of warm and cool, human and animal, are all visually intriguing. The story is a mystery and invites speculation. 


Under the Scope  by Bryce Machaelk of Winston Churchill High School Under the Scope.jpg
Auger: A balance of shadow and light, warm and cool, with the subject of scientific curiosity.


CATEGORY: The Arts, K-12 Outreach