Rogers High School students in Pam Sarell’s photography class are learning how valuable their developing photography skills can be.
For two students specifically, Savannah Smith and Brianna Armenta, their photos were recently selected as winners of the Puget Sound Educational Service District Regional High School Art Show.
Armenta’s photo, “Bittersweet,” won the Pierce County Executive Award, which was judged by the Pierce County Arts Commission. Her photo was purchased by Pierce County for $200, and will be on display in one of the county buildings.
Armenta has been a photographer for two years, and enjoys being able to capture the moment, she says.
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“It’s always been an interest of mine to take pictures,” the 17-year old Armenta said.
Armenta enjoys taking pictures of people more than nature.
Smith’s photo, “Counterbalance,” won the Regional Award, earning the highest total points in the competition.
Smith has been taking pictures for as long as she can remember, and ultimately credits her start in photography to her mother, Stephanie Smith. While the Rogers High student been around cameras her entire life, it wasn’t until she was 11 or 12 that she says she started to embrace her love for photography.
“I really like to shoot nature and portraits,” Smith, 17, said.
While setting up her shoot for the award-winning shot, Smith decided to go after something that was unique and different.
“It’s a picture with a mirrored effect of a fork balancing an egg,” she said.
As a junior at Rogers, Smith is getting contacted to shoot her friends’ senior portraits.
“I love capturing the essence,” she said.
When Sarell was working with the students to enter one of their works into their one required contest throughout the school year, she could only select three students’ photos to run last month’s competition. With more than 100 students throughout her three photography classes, Sarell said picking just three students was difficult.
“Of the three I selected, two of them were selected to move forward in the contest,” Sarell said. “(Smith and Armenta) are both great photographers. They’re learning skills that they can put on a resume.”
More importantly, Sarell says it shows her students that what they’re learning in class ultimately pays off.
“They can use these camera skills later on,” she said. “It’s cool to see them getting recognized. When they get rewarded by it, it’s worth doing these contests even though (the entry process is) a lot of work for me.”