High school students across South Dakota are encouraged to enter their photos in a photography contest. Black Hills State University in Spearfish is sponsoring the competition that photography instructors hope gives beginning photographers exposure and helps spur a life-long love of photography in young people.
The high school photography contest is designed to get students familiar with showing their photos to their peers and the general public, instead of limiting their audience to just family and friends.
Oliver Burgoyne is a visual arts teacher at the Lead/Deadwood high school.
Burgoyne says he is requiring each of his nearly sixty students to submit at least two photos into the contest. He says students can photograph whatever they like, but they must use digital cameras to take the photos instead of relying on cell phone cameras.
Burgoyne says students are incorporating techniques they’ve learned in class.
“Well you want them to capture good elements of good composition, of course, which makes a good photograph, but also to kind of have their own personal touch to the photographs – express what they want viewers to see, that kind of tells a story about who they are also,” says Burgoyne.
Burgoyne says photography is not only a hobby - he says it is a skill that can be used beyond high school and college - in future careers like journalism, graphic arts, web design, and advertising.
“Yeah, I’ve had several students who have been interested in photography and they’re going to college now for it actually. So I think contests like this really helps them kind of get their work out, spread the word, you know the different pieces they’re doing, things like that – critique their own work versus other people’s,” says Burgoyne.
The photography department at Black Hills State University is sponsoring the contest.
BHSU photo professor Jerry Rawlings says he is looking forward to seeing this year’s submissions. He adds there’s certain things that he’s looking for in the winning photos.
“Primarily at this point in a young photographer’s career I’m looking for sound technical abilities and a good eye for composition,” says Rawlings.
Rawlings says cash prizes are going to the winners, but the contest is also a learning experience, with perks, like publicity.
“Black Hills State University is going to print, matte, and frame all of these photos and exhibit them on our campus. If the top winners of the contest can provide an exhibition space at their high school, we will even send the exhibition to their high school,” says Rawlings.
Rawlings says he won second place in his high school photo contest and that helped foster his love for photography as an adult. He says he hopes this contest does the same for other young South Dakota photographers.
The photography contest is also open to high school students in Wyoming. The deadline to submit photos is May 4th. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.