19th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Peninsula People

Youth 17 and Under


"Under the Bridge"
by Guy Singer

Click on photo for larger image.

About Guy Singer

Guy Singer, 15, first picked up a camera six months ago -- he has not put it down since.

The self-taught junior at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto specializes in portraits, mostly of his friends. A few times a week he asks classmates or members of his Jewish youth group to pose for a photo. Eager for a polished shot for their Facebook profiles, subjects do not usually need much convincing.

He took about 50 shots of his friend Jonathan for "Under the Bridge" until he "just kind of caught him sitting back and relaxing."

Singer finds that people make more interesting subjects than trees.

"I prefer portraits to nature and landscape because I usually feel other people could pick up a camera and take pictures with almost identical results, but with people there are a lot more variables involved -- you can get more original results," he said.

Singer aims to capture natural expressions and convey as many emotions as possible through his work. Lately, he has been staging more organized shoots rather than snapping random candids, according to his photography blog.
He pays as much attention to the backdrop as to the subject.

"The other day I was at ... (an) international convention in Dallas, Texas," he wrote on his blog.

There was a huge snow storm, and the white lighting from the overcast skies was ideal."

Singer started out on his father's old film camera but has since moved on to digital. That allows him to mute colors, as he did for his winning picture.

So far, Singer has refused to take a class. "I was opposed to classes because I didn't want to learn from someone else," he explained. "I liked the idea of learning it as you go -- learning your own style without instructions."

Born in Israel, Singer moved to Palo Alto when he was 10 years old. He remembers the heat best and misses the food most. He stays in touch with his roots through the youth group, which meets on weekends to socialize or do volunteer work. Singer also plays the flute, guitar and saxophone and is in a flute ensemble and a band at school. The rest of his free time is dedicated to soccer.
His win in the photo contest may herald a career in photography. Until now, it had been difficult for Singer to gauge his talent.

"It's hard to get an honest reaction out of people because they'll just say nice things."

-- Katia Savchuk