Photos to Success


Photo Courtesy of: Russell McConnell

The Split Decision Contest exhibit.

Savanna McDow, Jounalist

  Bringing an all-new pride to the Ridge, a select few photography students entered two art contests to compete against other high school students with their creativity. Both The Walker Contest and The Split Decision were what these students participated in to get the chance to show off what they are best at. 

The Walker Contest had a theme of art, science, & technology, which took place back in January. This contest is used to get everyone involved with entering all sorts of art for judging and recognition. Kids at Shadow were put into this contest after having their art assessed by teacher Russell McConnell, a photography instructor at Shadow. 

“I decided who would be selected based on how they described the categories, so I was the one making initial “edits” before sending them through, looking over their pieces for what the judges were looking for. About sixteen different high schools entered the Walker Contest, and we won every award, which is kind of unheard of, and I am not sure how it happened, but it did.”

As rigorous as the process was for all the judges, competitors, and teachers who brought the contest to light, it was all worth it for the winners and students who got to enter a piece of their art. 

Both contests were a chance for these students to stretch their creativity to the extremes and make something unique straight from their imaginations. Being selected was a hard decision as only several students were chosen, so making the best and feeling like the best went a long way during the competition. 

“My teacher Mr. McConnell found the contest and wanted to enter a few of his students. He judged our entries before deciding which ones would be entered into the contest,” states first-place winner Eva Vega. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn what it would be like to have a specific set of requirements, and I thought it would be a fun challenge.”

The other contest the students participated in was the Split Decision Contest which had its opening reception in late January at Roger’s Studio Gallery. This contest was a part of a juried exhibition as three different students at Shadow had their pieces chosen, which is a big honor out of all the work submitted.

Photography runs deeper than what is exposed on the surface regarding how much dedication, creativity, and motivation are needed to complete fantastic work. For these students, meeting the requirements for the contests helped twist and change the mental processes that helped the piece move along.

The Split Decision Contest exhibit. (Photo Courtesy of: Russell McConnell )

“Art is calming, in my opinion, and I like taking photos of whatever I want. I also like capturing the pretty and the ugly things in the world. There is so much beauty everywhere, and photography helps me appreciate all of it. I love photography so much,” states Split Decision recipient Kiersten Darrington.