Shot on Location: Historical Society picks student photo contest winners


By Will Bowen

“If you want to take a good picture, learn to crop. That way you can take out things that shouldn’t be there, like people walking in the background.”

No little sagacious advice from Maddie Lyons, a second-grader at La Jolla Elementary School, who to everyone’s surprise, won Best of Show at the second annual Student Photo Competition sponsored by the La Jolla Historical Society and Outside The Lens. The winners were announced June 10 at a reception held at Wisteria Cottage.

Lyons’ black-and-white photograph of the old wooden lifeguard tower at La Jolla Cove, shot from a particularly intriguing angle, also won the K-Grade 2 division of the competition that was organized around the theme “My Favorite Place in La Jolla.”

“I used the black-and-white capability on my Nikon DSLR camera because it made my picture of the lifeguard tower look old fashioned,” Lyons said.

Michael Mishler, historical society archivist/curator, said all the photographs

entered — 36 photos by 36 children from grades K-12 — will be placed in the society’s archives.

“Fifty years in the future, people will look back at these photographs for a view of La Jolla 2012,” mused Mishler.

Board member Nettie

Keck, who co-founded the competition a year ago with fellow board member Jennifer Smith, remarked, “These photographs will inform visitors about how people and the local landscape have … and have not … changed over the years.”

Mishler said the historical society was delighted to co-sponsor the show because it was very interested in incorporating the perspective of children and enhancing their participation in the organization.

“I really like the fact that we will archive photographs by children who have not yet been taught how to ‘look’ by society and the media. They have a fresh and unique view of things — very different from adults, which is very important to document,” Mishler said.

Rachel Lebowitz of Outside The Lens, said the digital camera is an important tool of the future.

“At Outside the Lens, we teach children to document what they see and to tell stories with their cameras. We try to give them ‘Photo Voice,’ so their view of things can be heard and they can help create change,” she said.

“We are also committed to improving children’s visual literacy so they will know how to look carefully, critically, and thoughtfully at the images society directs their way.”

The submitted photographs were judged by Bill Kenney of La Jolla Photo & Imaging; John Durant, a freelance photographer; and Ryan Sutton, winner of last year’s competition.

Michael Mitchell, a student at La Jolla High, won First Place in the Grades 9-12 division with his long distance, long exposure shot of the wall at the Children’s Pool. “I choose the Children’s Pool as my subject matter because it is the quintessential representation of La Jolla,” he said.

Christine Gaffney won the 6-8 Grade division with a picture called “Rust,” taken with a Canon Rebel, also at the Children’s Pool. The photograph was shot looking down the handrail on the wall.

“I like to take my pictures from cool angles,” she said.

“The judges said my shot was from a ‘Dutch Angle,’ which was news to me!”

Lily Keck, a seventh-grader at Bishop’s, received an Honorable Mention for the 6-8 Grade division. Her picture was of a water polo ball, just thrown into the water and still sending out ripples, at the pool at Bishop’s, where she is on the water polo team.

“The Bishop’s pool is my favorite place in La Jolla. I sure spend a lot of time there,” she said.

Lily’s sister, Maddie, also won an Honorable Mention, but in the K-2 division, with a photograph called, “Squeaky Beach,” her name for the shore at the foot of Sea Lane Drive. “I call it Squeaky Beach because your feet make a squeaky sound when you walk through the sand there,” Maddie said.