11th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Co-winner, Youth Award


By Abbie Smithson

About Abbie Smithson

Abbie Smithson says that photography enables her to appreciate her friends in a unique way.
"I really love taking pictures of my friends," she said.

Click on photo for larger image.

One of those friends, Julie Debell, acted as the model for Abbie's award-winning photograph, "Unleashed." Abbie says she submitted the photograph because of its visual representation of her friend.

"She looks very relaxed and pretty," she said.

Abbie, who is 13, attends Peninsula School in Menlo Park, but she will graduate in June and attend Menlo-Atherton High School in the fall. She uses her father's old Nikon manual camera to take many of her photographs, a hobby which she admits has benefited her life.

"Photography is the best that ever happened to me," she said.

She ignited her pursuit of photography by taking a class last summer, but it became more of a full-time hobby in September. "Unleashed" was her first ever submission to the Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest, a submission that was encouraged and inspired by her mentor, Carmela Meehan, who was awarded the Special Youth Prize for her photograph, "The Slipper Precursor" in the 1999 Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest.

-- Tyler Hanley