Journalism Next from The Out-of-Door Academy: Student photographers get creative

Special to the HeraldMarch 11, 2013 

The Sarasota Museum of Art invited photographers of all ages and levels to compete in their Sticks and Clicks Competition Jan. 7-26.

The competition, held at the historic Sarasota High School, features the artwork of famed sculpture artist, Patrick Dougherty. All of The Out-of-Doors Academy photography students, under Mrs. Leslie Garasic, entered the competition. Out of the 462 entries, four were presented with awards in their student categories. On Feb. 24, these ODA students received notable accolades:

n Student Category age 15-18

First: Sierra VanSuch, '16

Second: Julia Bellanger, '14

Honorable Mention: Julia Bellanger, '14

n Student Category age 10-14

Second: Libby Grimond, '16

Honorable Mention: Myra Singh, '16

You may have noticed Julia Bellanger received two awards. If you look further into her pictures, you'll know

why. They're unique ideas: one with a glass vase and another with a picture of the subject in a picture frame. But how did she come up with these concepts?

Julia says she was brainstorming ideas with her family when her father suggested props. She looked around and then pointed at the glass vase and said, "what about that?" It isn't your typical glass vase; it has a wavy aspect to it that gives off a funky appearance to whatever is in the background.

After this monumental "eureka," she came up with the picture frame idea. These outstanding pictures resulted in being recognized as a distinguishable contestant and led to her two achievements.

Myra Singh took the initiative of taking "close ups and tried to take a picture different from the others." It worked. From the 462 photographs entered, she received an Honorable Mention along with a cash prize of $50.

Sierra VanSuch took two different approaches to Ms. Garasic's assignment. She first went to the sculpture during the day with her friend and took some pictures. She then returned at night when she took her winning photo.

She actually had quite a bit of trouble capturing the artwork at night; her tripod was broken and she had to sit as still as possible while holding her camera.

She explained that the picture ended up having an interesting effect where "it looked like the clouds were moving in the background." She was excited with the outcome and submitted the picture along with three others.

"I guess the judges liked it ... it won! I was surprised and really excited!" she cheered. She received first place along with cash and prizes valued at $500 and a copy of the book "Stickworks," about the work of sculptor Patrick Dougherty.

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