June 8, 2021
By Julia Glowacki
For four students in Mrs. Huntington’s Principles of Business Promotion classes, a simple class project led to major recognition in a contest hosted by the Ocean County Camera Club for the Photographic Society of America.
Junior Miranda Balidemaj brought home the biggest award, the Judge’s Choice Award, for her photo titled “A Beautiful Distraction,” and these three students are moving on to the International PSA Contest:
- Freshman Genesis Blanco for the photo “BLM”
- Sophomore Yara Haidar for her photo “Berries”
- Senior Christian Quintero for his photos “Ferris Wheel Fun” and “A View from the Bridge”
The following students were winners of the OCCC photo contest but will not be moving on to compete in the PSA contest: Freshman Serena Berges, Junior Kaiya Cocliff, Junior Reanna Ricigliano and Junior Emma Rodrigues.
This is LHS’ sixth year participating in this free contest, which included contestants from South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. The contest received entries from the following 12 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
The categories included in the contest were: architecture, color choice, monochrome choice, photojournalism, portrait and scapes, which includes cityscapes, landscapes and waterscapes.
During the first and second marking periods, Principles of Business Promotion teacher Mrs. Huntington assigned students two to three categories to photograph weekly.
Although the categories remained the same as in previous years, Huntington said taking photos was slightly more difficult because of the circumstances of the pandemic, but she said the students’ work took on special meaning because it chronicled an important time in history.
“The saying that ‘A photo is worth a thousand words’ is true,” Huntington said. “[The contest] truly showed what people were going through with the pictures students took.”
She said the hardest part of the contest was deciding which 15 photos to submit because the students took so many good photos.
Huntington said she hopes her students realized the significance of their work as photographers.
“I can be very competitive sometimes, and knowing that all these pictures were going to be submitted to a contest made me try harder to get the best pictures I could possibly get.”
“Every photograph tells a story, and the students don’t always understand the power that they have with their pictures,” Huntington said.
Sophomore Yara Haidar said she decided to photograph fresh fruit in her photo titled “Berries” to showcase the colors blue, green, pink and red.
Haidar said the contest motivated her to challenge herself and gave her something to look forward to.
“I can be very competitive sometimes, and knowing that all these pictures were going to be submitted to a contest made me try harder to get the best pictures I could possibly get,” Haidar said.
She said the lessons in Huntington’s class helped her grow as a photographer.
“I learned how to take better pictures using different angles and techniques,” Haidar said. “Like how to incorporate the background in the pictures as best as I could, and what angles would look the best for the picture that I am trying to get.”
Haidar said Huntington made her realize that one does not need a professional camera to take an effective photo.
“I could get really good pictures without having to use an expensive camera,” Haidar said. “The pictures could come out just as good with the camera on your phone or iPad.”
Senior Christian Quintero said he was surprised to learn that “A View from the Bridge” had received recognition because he considered it to be one of his “throwaway photos.”
“That’s just how it goes: you take a really good picture and it doesn’t do well, but you take an okay picture, and it does really well,” Quintero said.
He said Huntington submitted the photo, which he snapped while in New York City with friends, for the architecture category.
“We decided to take pictures of items we saw around us,” Quintero said. “At the bottom of the railing there was this interesting shape… and it added this framed look to the photo, capturing the sunlight reflecting off [the bridge].”
Quintero said he was glad he participated in the contest because it gave him a goal to work towards.
“I think a contest really motivates people to put their best effort into [their work] to try and win or get recognized,” said Quintero.