17th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Looking at Ramika Evans' "Reflective Couple" is like spying into the window of chic next-door-neighbors caught in a private moment.
The image, wittily titled "Reflective Couple," won first place among youth entries for "Peninsula People," an outcome that surprised Evans.
"This is my first contest. I was really surprised; I had no idea," she said.
A senior at Eastside College Preparatory School, Evans said she first got behind the camera in her school's photography elective.
"The whole class has been proud of me," she said.
Evans said she enjoys everything about photography: going out, framing backgrounds, examining scenery and the act of taking pictures.
"I also love developing in the darkroom. And I love black-and-white photos," she said. "That's what I shoot with. I rarely do color."
"I just like the way that black-and-white photos look and the message that it sends. It gives me a different feeling. You know what everything looks like with color, but in black and white, it's up to your own imagination and how you want to perceive it," she said.
"Reflective Couple" has a theatrical touch -- a dramatic intensity that is less surprising given Evans' passion for the theater.
"I like doing the setup for plays and working with the actors, designing and lighting and the sound. I'm pretty much well-rounded in backstage theater. I've done almost every play at my school," she said.
Evans will be heading to New York City in the fall to enroll at Columbia University. She said she is looking forward to doing more city and "street photography" -- candid shots of individuals passing by.
For artistic inspiration, she relies more on her own intuition than on the precedents set by previous artists, she said.
"I don't really follow artists. I follow pictures and what I like," she said. "Specifically, I like when I see something different."