Question: You recently were awarded the Schack Art Center’s annual Susan Jane Russell Art Scholarship for your photography portfolio. Could you talk a little about that, including the photograph you titled “Lost?”
Answer: It was taken in Oregon. It’s my close friend. We had just finished a kayaking trip down the Sun River. Our friends had taken a bus to get our car. We started walking down this long dirt trail. It was so hot and we were so dehydrated. A bus had driven by and there was so much dust and so I snapped a picture.
Q: How many photos did you enter in the contest?
A: I entered eight, a full portfolio.
Q: How long have you been interested in photography?:
A: I picked up photography in my freshman year. I started to really like it. In my sophomore year I took photos for the yearbook and I’m photo editor for the yearbook this year.
Q: What are you plans for college?
A: I’m going to art school in New York or San Francisco. I do want to work for a newspaper or magazine in the future. I see the rest of my life highly involved with arts and photography.
Q: I’m interested in your choice of black-and-white or color. Could you talk a little about that?
A: When I picked up photography, I started in my class with black-and-white film and I learned how to process and print it in the darkroom. I did do digital in my sophomore and junior years. I started trying to do more in black-and-white. I heard that if the photo doesn’t need the color, then black-and-white should be the medium. It’s such a challenge. Film is so expensive to buy and produce. It is a challenge when it’s coming out of your pocket.
Q: Could you talk about the rest of the photos in your portfolio?
A: The rest of the pictures are on a theme of capturing youth. I feel like technology, in my generation, is huge distraction. Everybody is always on their phone. Every moment when it’s boring or uncomfortable the phone is there as a backup. People use their phones to capture photos and stuff. Although it is a tool, they make the memories artificial. People don’t remember them because they’re on their phone. All my photos go through moments in high school and how fast everything flashes by. Youth is so memorable but no one takes advantage of it.
Q: What other interest do you have in school?
A: I also love art. This year I’m in AP studio art class with Amanda Wood. I love photography but I want to expand into other arts so I can be more creative and think more in mediums and style and stuff. Also in yearbook, I’ve been photo editor for three years. That’s a great class. The whole class is really independent.
Q: What sort of classes would you like to take in art school?
A: The art schools are pretty specific in their majors. I’m trying to get a bachelor of fine arts in photography and photojournalism. It’s pretty undecided. The thing is, with art it’s never a secure path. It’s always taking you here and there. There’s nothing I can predict. I do know I want to be in visual arts and I need to wait until my moment comes.
Q: Are you involved in activities outside school?
A: As of right now, not really. I used to work for Safeway. But they gave me so many hours I had to stop to apply for college. I’m currently doing an arts magazine for my senior project. That’s pretty time consuming. In school I do so much photography, it’s really outside school, athletic and music activities. As a photographer, it’s really a lot of extra hours not during school because so many things happen after school hours.
Q: What ‘s your favorite class other than the arts?
A: I have to say English, probably, because English is like another art. It’s so expressive in words and poetry. It’s such a powerful form. Everybody should take advantage of language, I guess.
Q: How about your hobbies?
A: I love to skateboard. Skateboarding was another reason I started photography. I originally wanted to work for Thrasher magazine in San Francisco. That’s why I started photography. It was a big influence.
Q: What type of music do you enjoy?
A: I love listening to all types of music. Joey Bada$$. He’s a rapper from Brooklyn. Lauryn Hill. Erykah Badu. Every day’s a different tune because it’s depending on the mood. It’s really what vibe I’m in and how I’m feeling and want to feel.
Q: How would you describe yourself academically?
A: I’m not like Harvard smart but everything is pretty intuitive. I was introduced to math very young. I’ve always been one step ahead of the game in a way where I can understand a lot and process a lot at once.
Q: What are your goals after college?
A: What I’m hoping to is to experience college not only as a learning experience but an opportunity to meet new people. You don’t know who you’ll meet and what that person’s path is like. Hopefully I’ll find a job in journalism or a magazine that allows me to continue doing what I love.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: I’m trying to enjoy my last year of high school and really appreciate all my friends. It’s never going to be the same after this. We’ll never be so free and unified.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org