This was my favorite category of the entire competition this year — the quality of the images made it a complete joy to judge. Six photographers have been honored, but even with all that competition, the photo deserving of the top prize had no trouble standing out. Just like the ballerina she is photographing, Katelyn Weingart's photo, "Pointe of View," displays precision, control and elegance. It is refreshing to see a young person choosing to work in black and white and using it to such great advantage. I could imagine Stephanie Engle's portrait "Daydream" in an advertising campaign, so compelling and seductive is the mood of this image. Her use of selective focus is spot on, and the details of this photograph — from her subject's swirling hair to the clasp of her necklace — keep drawing my eye back. Allison Yuen has also created a photograph that continues to unfold. The glowing orb is mysterious and mesmerizing, and I find myself wanting to know more about the young woman cradling it in her arms.
Pointe of View
On a late afternoon, Katelyn Weingart and her close friend went to a park nearby for a photo shoot. Weingart, a freshman at Menlo School, made her way up to a structure to shoot her subject and friend, Sabrina Karlin, who just started pointe (dancing on tiptoe) in her ballet class this year.
Dancing en pointe is no easy feat, but the photographed Karlin is more comfortable on a familiar, softer bed of grass. Her expressive arms extend out from her body, and there's a subtle smile on her face.
The portrayal of a ballerina in a uniform of tutu, pointe shoes and tiara has an added accessory.
"She's pretty delicate, so I thought of the idea of balloons," said Weingart.
A personal connection is present in most of her subjects — "the photos I take are of friends." Her photography page on Facebook has albums, feedback and requests from friends who want their pictures taken.
Weingart started photographing flowers around the yard when her mom bought a nice camera two or three years ago, she said. She learned the manual functions at a summer camp last year.
In the past few years, she's moved on from flowers to people. For Weingart, portraits are a great chance to practice taking photos. She uses donations from the photo shoots to help fund the Awaso Academy, in Ghana, Africa. This summer, Weingart and her family will go to the city of Awaso to help build a school.
Weingart's passion is evident in her up-close and personal portraits of people and nature.
"I just really fell in love with the camera." Second place
To Chase the Darkness with Light