True: Four Julian students currently have photographs hanging in the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. This is a great story and my dear friend Ann recently wrote it up for the Julian Journal, and her account from the November edition is reprinted (with gratitude) below.
Julian Youth Exhibit Photographs at MOPA
Trustees and members of the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) filled its atrium last month as guests of honor, four students from Julian Junior High, arrived for an artist’s reception to open “Photo/Synthesis,” the 7th Annual Youth Photography Exhibition.
Seventh-graders Taylor Cole, Trevor Denny, Ethan Elisara and Kaleigh Kaltenthaler enjoyed appetizers and music, and mingled with the public, sharing a love of photography nurtured by their involvement in “Kids with Cameras,” an afterschool enrichment program. Some of the students had never been to MOPA before. For others, opening was a new experience. For all of them, it is the first time their artwork was on display in a venue that is nationally recognized for its contribution to the world of photography.
The theme of this year’s youth exhibition, environment and sustainability, is a subject right up the alley of these students who spent most of their time taking photos in the school garden and on Volcan Mountain. The show was open to students from throughout San Diego County. Applicants submitted original photos and an artist statement. A panel of five experts in the field of photography reviewed about 300 entries to select 100 images for the show. Jurors considered the quality of the image, how it fit into the theme and how well the student’s written words supported his or her photograph.
Deborah Klochko, executive director of MOPA, spoke at the reception saying, “We live in a visual world; how we see that is important.”
She encouraged guests to take a moment to talk with the artists, saying that their voice plays an important role. Klochko considers photography to be the most important media of the 21st century.
While she says, “Creativity is important,” she also emphasized the importance of visual literacy.
She spoke of the volume of images in the world today, saying that until one understands the structure of an image—how it is made and how it can be manipulated—one can be controlled by the image instead of being in control. This is why the museum embraces the philosophy of lifespan learning, with programs for children and adults.
“The museum is proud to showcase the work of the youth, which is exciting for the audience as well,” she says.
In the gallery, the photos are arranged by sub-topics within the theme.
Hung with a group of floral photos is Trevor Denny’s close-up of a bee on a flower petal. Denny, who thinks “It’s pretty cool” to have his photo in a museum exhibition, never thought about how complex bees are until he examined one through the lense of this camera, focusing on details like the patterns in their wings and the hairs on their bodies.
For Ethan Elisara, who “feels really good” about having his artwork in the show, it was capturing the moment when a cattail stalk released its seeds into the air that caught the attention of the jurors. Elisara’s photo, which hangs with a group of “not your typical nature images,” has a mysterious quality that engages viewers.
Just a few of the photos on display used portraiture as a way to approach the subject, and that’s where Taylor Cole’s dramatic image of a child’s shadow on the bark of a tree burned in the Cedar Fire is found. Cole, who “felt like a V.I.P.” at the reception, juxtaposes in her photo the contrast of the tragedy of a natural disaster with the playfulness of a child.
In a group of photos that show mankind’s effect on the earth, Kaleigh Kaltenthaler’s artwork is the lone example of a positive way in which human beings have impacted the environment. Kaltenthaler said she was “fired up” to be surrounded by all of the photos as she talked with people about her image of a grinding stone and mortar.
Klochko publically credited Jeff Holt with doing a great job with a talented group of students.
The show, beautifully organized by Lori Sokolowski, continues through January 27, 2013.