“Idiosyncratic,” by Lake Stevens High School sophomore Makayla McMullen, was grand prize winner in the Schack Art Center’s annual black-and-white photo contest for high school students.

“Idiosyncratic,” by Lake Stevens High School sophomore Makayla McMullen, was grand prize winner in the Schack Art Center’s annual black-and-white photo contest for high school students.

There’s an untold story behind winning photo in Schack contest

“Idiosyncratic,” by Makayla McMullen of Lake Stevens High School, was named the grand prize winner.

Makayla McMullen’s photo “Idiosyncratic” is deliberately ambiguous.

In the black and white image, hands grasp a piece of wood. The background is a mystery of light and shadows.

Makayla, 16, took it for a photography assignment at Lake Stevens High School. The hands belong to her sister, Mia De Jong, who was picking up a weathered old ladder at an abandoned house near the Centennial Trail.

“I didn’t want the picture to tell its own story,” said Makayla, a sophomore at Lake Stevens. “The title represents that. It’s peculiar to each person.”

Makayla’s photography teacher, Elizabeth Granillo, encouraged her to submit the photo to Schack Art Center’s annual black-and-white photo contest for high school students. “Idiosyncratic” won the grand prize March 20 out of 111 entries submitted by students from schools throughout Snohomish County.

Although Makayla is an avid photographer, it was the first time she entered her work in a contest.

“I really enjoy working with black and white now,” she said. “It changes the whole mood of the picture.”

The winning photographs are on display on the art center’s website. The center closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak. There are plans to display all of the entries in the Emerging Young Artists’ Gallery when it reopens.

Contest judges evaluated the entries on originality, technical skill and vision. In their comments, the judges said they selected Makayla’s work as the grand-prize winner because of its composition, lighting and texture, and because it suggested a story behind it.

Here are the winners in the contest’s two categories:

Emily Decker, a sophomore at Lake Stevens High School, won first place in the grades 9-10 category for this picture, titled “Normal.”

Emily Decker, a sophomore at Lake Stevens High School, won first place in the grades 9-10 category for this picture, titled “Normal.”

Grades 9 and 10: First place, Emily Decker, “Normal,” sophomore, Lake Stevens High School; second place, Madison Von Melville, “Alone and Isolated,” sophomore, Lake Stevens High School; third place, Zach Harris, “Lonely Lantern,” sophomore, Lake Stevens High School.

“The Decision,” by Glacier Peak High School junior Elijah Croyle, took first place in the grades 11-12 category.

“The Decision,” by Glacier Peak High School junior Elijah Croyle, took first place in the grades 11-12 category.

Grades 11 and 12: First place, Elijah Croyle, “The Decision,” junior, Glacier Peak High School; second place, Dylan Thede, “Wheel in the Woods,” junior, Snohomish High School; third place, Dani Gibson, “Doubles,” senior, Snohomish High School.

Twenty-five honorable mentions were awarded in both categories.

This is the 25th year of the student photography contest. It nearly didn’t happen because of the coronavirus, said Nancy Bell, Schack’s education director. Bell credits the teachers, who submitted the photos as the virus spread to meet the March 12 deadline.

“Those teachers that participated felt it was important to do it,” she said. “I look back on it and think, ‘Oh my gosh, bless their hearts.’”

Various pills on a white table are the focus of Emily Decker’s winning photo, “Normal.” Emily, 16, said it sheds light on her own struggles.

“I have to take all of that to feel normal,” she said. “I’m proud of putting myself out there. It’s not only for me. A couple years ago, if I saw a picture like that from my school, it would have made me feel better that there was someone my age going through something similar.”

Elijah Croyle, 17, took his first-place photo, “The Decision,” on a cold and rainy day in November near Lake Roesiger in Snohomish. He was with his friend Thomas Peach when they saw trenches in the middle of a logged landscape. Elijah thought of an idea for an action shot.

“It was muddy and gross, and my first thought was, ‘One of us should jump over these,’” Elijah said. “He was a good sport. It was bummer, though — I was hoping he’d make it to the other side.”

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, ethompson@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

Life after ‘Hoarders’: 2 years, 250 tons lighter in Marysville

Andy and Becky Otter got a resurgence of fame when the A&E reality TV show was picked up by Netflix.

Arlington brewery celebrates Super Saturday, community benefits

In The Shadows Brewing in Arlington opens its taproom for fundraisers to benefit the Arlington Community Food Bank and other charities.

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road gives lineup extra trail cred

The newest model to join Toyota’s compact SUV family builds on the existing RAV4 Adventure model.

Pandemic brings the Adventure-O-Meter to an all-time low

From near-misses with crow poop to scoring bleach at the pharmacy, this is what passes for excitement.

Unusually large flocks of swifts visiting Monroe this summer

Vaux’s swifts, which migrate in spring and fall, are roosting at the Wagner chimney after gorging on insects, a local expert says.

Wild Goose in British Columbia tops Cascadia judging again

It’s the third time in four years that the winery topped the annual showcase of Pacific Northwest wines.

Ice pops and cream pops make an easy, cool summer snack

You need only fruit juice, or iced tea, and whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand.

Celebrate Bastille Day with this delicious mussels dish

You’ll want a loaf of good French bread to soak up the delicious broth the mussels cook in.

Rick Steves’ memories of fado, the mournful blues of Lisbon

For an authentic experience, you have to seek out the city’s rustic neighborhoods after dark.

Most Read