Downey High students sweep photography contest

DOWNEY - Stay Gallery wrapped up its second annual Downey & Warren Photography Exhibition last Thursday, a demonstration of the best photographs taken by local high school students. Students from Ronda Cordova's class Downey High and George Redfox's class at Warren participated by submitting their work to Stay Gallery. The 34 best images were chosen to be displayed inside the gallery.

One week before the exhibit, the Downey High students visited the gallery where they reviewed their photography portfolio with gallery creative director Gabriel Enamorado and the show's curator, Ana Godinez.

Students shared the stories behind their photographs and discussed their artistic strategies with staff. They were also allowed an opportunity for critique after learning which of their pieces had been selected for inclusion in the show.

"It was great to see how enthusiastic the students were to talk about their portfolio," said Enamorado. "They were all eager to hear our opinions of their pieces and suggest any tips that may improve their future work. I'm excited to see these young artists' talent develop as they continue on with their practice."

At the exhibit, three students won awards for taking the best photographs. All were from Downey High.

Jesus Laurean won special recognition for his black and white photograph titled "Life of a Musician," and Shelby Sanchez earned honorable mention for her piece, "Uncle," composed using multiple images of her uncle's face.

Andie Ascencio won the grand prize for her stunning photograph of classmate and good friend Karina Maese. The photograph is an extreme close-up of Karina's eye.

"This is my favorite picture that I have ever photographed, and it does feel good to get recognized for it," said Ascensio. "When my name was announced as the winner, it was really surprising."

All three students were awarded checks from the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation, a gift certificate from L.A. Buns and a coupon from Porto's for free pastries.

For winning the grand prize, Ascencio also won $200.

"The photography that both Downey High School and Warren High School submitted was very impressive," Stay Gallery officials said in a statement. "There was a wide variety of subjects, compositions and intricate lighting elements that made it very difficult for the curators to select the pieces for the exhibition."

George Redfox, the photographer instructor from Warren High, said, "I think it's good to do something like this for the kids. It's a more professional environment than doing something at the school."

Plans are already underway for the third annual event.

********** Published: July 4, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 12