Approximately 60 Pocket area students, parents and community members came out to the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library on the evening of Friday, March 15, to see more than 40 photographs taken by teens not just in their community, but all over the world.
The showing was part of a photography contest held by the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) at the library. TAB members and C.K. McClatchy High School seniors Allison Yamamoto and Michelle Sarracino had come up with the idea for contest as a way for area teens to both express themselves and learn more about what the library offers.
Yamamoto hoped the event would help draw teens to the library for more than just completing school work, but to also “show that we have these events going on at the library that are open for students to participate in and get something out of,” she says.
“A Changing World”
Tracey Joe, youth services Librarian for Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library, says the library was happy to support TAB and the contest, as well as give local teens an opportunity to express themselves through art and show it to the community. “We just wanted to give them the opportunity to be creative and interpret it however they wanted to, and we thought it would be a really awesome thing that we could do for the community,” she explains.
The theme of the contest was “A Changing World,” which Yamamoto says they came up with when noticing the differences between generations that came to the library. “We thought it would be cool to see how other teens would interpret ‘A Changing World,’ whether they think it’s a good thing or a bad thing,” she explains.
Of the approximately 40 entries the photography contest received, 24 were from local students while 18 were from teens across the United States and even from other countries such as Peru and Australia. Yamamoto says she created a Facebook event for the contest, which helped spread the word to teens in other areas.
Sarracino was pleased they were able to include photos from teens all over the country as it would allow all those that attended the gala to “not just see the changing world around our community, but also expand their horizons and get a feel for how other kids see the changing world in other places,” she adds.
And the Winners Are …
Four judges – including library staff Joe and Brendle Wells, branch supervisor; Kathi Windheim, president of the Friends of the Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library; and Corrie Pelc, reporter for Valley Community Newspapers – determined the winners of the contest, which included top three awards for local contributors, as well as an International Award, and awards for “Best Perspective” and “Most Moving.”
Top honors went to Sierra Brown, a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School who took first place for her photo “A Winter Morning.” “I found that flower in the garden and just thought it was really neat how it was a yellow flower, but had this white glistening signs of winter on it even though winter hadn’t hit yet, so I just took a picture of it,” she says.
Brown – who has been taking photos since the ninth grade – says her photo fits the theme “A Changing World” as it shows that the world is constantly changing. “We can see this best in even the most insignificant things, such as a simple yellow flower painted in winter’s frost,” she explains. “True, today winter is here and the flowers are dying. But not matter what, we can always expect that tomorrow will bring another sunrise, a new flower, and constant change.”
She also believes it’s “extremely important” for teens to have a way to express themselves, such as through photography. “The youth have such a different view of the world than do adults, and I think the best way to voice such a view is through artistic expression,” she says. “It’s great that teens have so many opportunities to share their expressions with others, such as the library’s photo show.”
Other local winners of the photography contest included Benjamin Potter, a senior at McClatchy, who took second place with his photo “Abandoned,” and Andrew Kageyama, a junior at Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove who took third place for his photo “Fall in Love.” Daniel Escobar, a junior at McClatchy, won “Most Moving” for his photo “Soarin’ Solar Dreams.” The “Best Perspective” award was given to Jonathan Beach from Los Angeles, while Ashleigh Polinelli from Perth, Australia won the International Award.
Joe says the library hopes to keep the photos from the contest on display for a few more weeks so community members who were unable to attend the gala can enjoy them.
And Sarracino hopes the contest will become an annual one, “but maybe bring in some other types of art as well,” she adds.