Scholastic gold key art awards handed out to Carroll students

By Vanessa Gibson, Staff Writer


Photos from Claire MacDonald, Audrey Ottenweller, and Tatom O'Donnell gold winning art portfolios.

For the 2015-2016 school year, 185 Regional Scholastic art awards were handed out to Carroll High School students, 20 of which were gold keys given to art portfolios.

   Senior photography students Claire MacDonald, Audrey Ottenweller, Tatom O’Donnell, and Callie Heyneman were among those students who won gold keys for their art portfolios. Each has taken years of photography classes offered at Carroll and have most recently taken AP Photography. 

   Carroll’s AP Photography class took a day trip to Chicago this past November where photography students were encouraged to explore the city and snap photos of things that they saw. This trip was where MacDonald and Ottenweller began to experiment with street photography.

   Photography teacher Nicole Croy did not give her students a specific shooting assignment for the trip, but, while in the city, students were prompted to capture people’s daily lives.

 Ottenweller was gracious that Croy did not give them a set assignment because she much prefers “shooting random things.” The idea of “capturing a moment in time that is uninterrupted” also intrigued Ottenweller, who shot most of her photos for her winning portfolio “Street Photography” during the Chicago trip.

   “Street Photography” is a collection of eight black and white photos capturing the different lives of people living in Chicago. Ottenweller had an idea going into the trip of what she wanted her street photographs to look like.

   “I really liked doing film and the way black and white photos look,” Ottenweller said. “Even though I didn’t use film I used digital. I knew that most street photography was shot in black and white so I liked that look.”

   Macdonald shot all of her photos for her winning portfolio “Among the Streets” during the Chicago trip. Street photography was something brand new to MacDonald. Typically, she shoots most of her photos using the Holga film camera. This camera has a unique lens that captures pictures which exhibit vignetting, blurring, light leaks, and other distortions.

   “Among the Streets” is a montage of colorful photos that capture Chicago’s city life.

   Ottenweller also won another gold key for her portfolio “Layers of Depth”. The photos were ones that she has taken over the span of her photo career at CHS. While going through the photos with Croy, they discovered a similar theme behind them.

   “The meaning behind [Layers of Depth] is pretty much having a portrait and concealing it in some way,” Ottenweller said, “such as putting some other medium on top of it. It [symbolizes] how most people put up a guard or a layer.” 

   Regional Scholastic gold key winning pieces will automatically move on to compete in the National Scholastic Art Competition. Although Ottenweller has had individual pieces judged at the national level, she is eager to see how her two portfolios place.

   “I’m excited because I don’t really know how portfolios are looked at and scored,” Ottenweller said. “I’m curious to see how my portfolio and the other portfolios from Carroll compare to other people’s at the national level.”

   O’Donnell is also excited to see how her portfolio will be judged at the National Scholastics Competition.

   “It makes me kind of nervous,” O’Donnell said, “but it’s exciting to know that I could get a national award. It’s a [thrilling] process since this is my first in scholastics.”

   O’Donnell won a gold key for her photography portfolio called “The Journey”. The collection of photos illustrates the journey one takes from being self-conscious to accepting yourself.

   “My whole concept is about people accepting themselves and the process they go through,” O’Donnell said. “In the start [of the portfolio], the pictures are of models who are really covered up and by the end it’s pretty bare.”

   While it is common for students to form a concept and base their photos off of it, O’Donnell admits that she made up her theme as she went along.

   “I started shooting things and Mrs. Croy saw that the theme was that everything was concealed so we just built off of that,” O’Donnell said.

   Heyneman’s theme for her winning portfolio “Ladylike” formed after a personal experience. She titled her portfolio “Ladylike” because for her seventeenth birthday her mom got her etiquette lessons as a gift.

   Heyneman said that she was extremely upset and quite offended by the gift. However, she did attend the lessons.

   “The more classes I went to and the more I learned what it was like to properly act like a ‘lady’,” Heyneman said, “the more ridiculous and absurd I found the entire concept. So, I made a photography series about my experience. I tried to incorporate humor into my pieces, and poke fun at the universal idea of what it means to be ‘ladylike.’”

   All four of these scholastic winners stated that they could not have been so successful without the help from their fellow photography students.

    “We always had little discussions in class where we would build ideas off of each other,” O’Donnell said. “Everyone plays a part in helping with new ideas.”