Visual majors place in Zoe Loren Photography Contest

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Maya Koppada

In honor of her exemplary photo, Maya Koppada, eighth grade visual arts major, wins first place in the Zoe Loren Photography Contest. “I became interested in photography in sixth grade when my mom bought me a camera, and I’ve liked [photography] ever since,” Koppada said.

A sharply tinted flower bloomed against a grayscale background, growing hope in a bleak world. A harshly lit girl gazed off into space, intent, yet calm and contemplative.

These two photos won first and second place, in the Zoe Loren Photography Contest, and were submitted individually by eighth grade visual art majors Maya Koppada and Sarah Sausser.

“I felt really proud of myself for winning the competition. I had won other contests before, but this one I won with the help of only one other person, Jayden Blackwell [visual arts major], who took the photo,” Koppada said.

The Zoe Loren Photography Contest had two submission sections; one for seventh and eighth graders, and another for ninth through 12th graders. The top three submissions in each section earned a prize.

“I was shocked [when I learned I had received second place]. I thought ‘Is this right?’, since there were so many people that had entered,” Sausser said.

A panel of three professional photographers judged the photo submissions. The prize for first place was a $500 gift card to the ProShop for Photographers, and six hours of one on one lessons (or a class or workshop) at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. Second place received a $250 gift card to the same shop, and four hours of private instruction (or a class or workshop) at the same center.

“One of my art area teachers, [Stephanie] Chesler, informed me of the contest. Since I had no other homework, and I’m interested in photography, I signed up,” Koppada said.

The foundation reached out to Chesler because they had heard of Bak’s photography program, which she ran.

“I was interested in the foundation because they contributed a lot to the community,” Chesler said. “They founded Faith’s Place, one of the buses you hear get called over the PA every afternoon.”

The theme for the contest was “hope”.

“I wanted to show that planting a simple flower could spark hope,” Koppada said. “That doing just one good deed can help out the world.”