The young photographers in the competition impressed us once again this year with images that reveal their passion for the medium as well as their distinct perspective on the world around us. In "Paly Theatre," Julia Benton breathes new life into her subject matter with a systematic, careful approach that deconstructs and reconstructs this building before our eyes.
Also using architectural elements to her advantage, Ashley Chu draws us into her portrait, "Ari," with a playful use shadows and lines.
In the Views Beyond the Peninsula category, the winning entries take us to far-flung places -- from the Philippines to Washington, D.C., to Bodie, Calif. -- and draw the viewer in with a shared sense of mystery and other-worldliness. -- Angela Buenning Filo
"Paly Theatre" by Julia Benton
Many high school graduates enter the summer after senior year clueless about what they wish to study in college, but not Julia Benton. She is dead set on a career in photojournalism. She even has a school picked out.
"I'm officially going to the Corcoran College of Art + Design," she says. There she will study the art of telling stories though pictures, and she couldn't be happier about it.
"It's so much fun," Benton says of photography. Her excitement is not difficult to hear through her bubbly giggles.
Her passion for the art really took off when she was a freshman at Palo Alto High School. It was then that she first placed in the Palo Alto Weekly's photo competition.
"It was the first time I realized other people liked looking at my photos," she says. "I just wanted to continue with it."
Every year since then, Benton says she has gotten more serious with her photography. Over the summer she enrolled in a program at the Corcoran campus in Washington, D.C. "That's when I really saw how photography could actually be a profession."
There are 35 individual images in Benton's "Paly Theatre." Together they form an interesting take on the high school's hall for performing arts.
"I really like expressing myself," Benton explains of her interest in photography. She especially enjoys working with the elements in a frame to create an interesting composition. In fact, Benton finds herself thinking about photo composition even when she doesn't have a camera in her hand, which is rare these days.
She works as a photographer and the graphics editor on the school paper, "The Campanile," and she also works on the school's art and literary magazine, "Calliope."
"I guess I like geometric patterns," she says as a way to explain her fascination with sound visual composition.
As for being recognized for a fourth year in a row for her work, Benton shows her gratitude mostly with nervous, jubilant laughter.
"It's always a great honor when people like your work."
-- Nick Veronin
"Amnesic Recollections" by Kenta Suzuki
"Locked" by Lauren Wong
"Urban Color" by Edward Burton Ryles
"All the Pretty Horses" by Lizzy Burhenne