Portraits of Learning(3)

Is the next Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams on your current class roster? From the looks of the more than 800 entries we received in this year's Portraits of Learning contest, it's very likely. Inspired by the theme "My Personal Universe" — and without a doubt the Nikon digital camera and software being awarded by the Adobe Digital Kids Club — students submitted imaginative entries depicting everything from rock bands to solitary dreamers, pets to rain-washed streets, art objects to playgrounds. Photos were evaluated on originality, creativity, and technical merit, with our panel of judges including more than 20 editors and art directors from CMP tech publications as well as photography students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

It was not an easy task to whittle down the submissions, as so many were of high quality and offered valuable and often moving insight into the private worlds of today's students.

(In fact, many that did not make the final cut now adorn the walls of our offices.)

In the following pages we present the top-scoring entries, along with selected comments on their work from the student photographers.

Contributing Sponsor: Adobe

Susan McLester is editor in chief of T&L magazine.

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Elementary School Winners

First Place

Ferris Wheel World

Kayla Delventhal, Grade 5
Osborn Hill Elementary School
Fairfield, Conn.

"My personal universe is like a carnival. The planet in my universe is the Ferris wheel. I love getting stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel ride. That's how I got my picture to represent my personal universe. I went on the Ferris wheel and took a picture at the top, looking out over the carnival. I cut and pasted a separate photo of the Ferris wheel into the main photo. I then used opaqueness adjustment, layer edge smoothing, and text input for effects and to dress up the picture. I also changed the size of the images to make them fit together better."

Second Place

Doggy Tea Party

Emma Funk, Grade 5
Pearl Creek Elementary School
Fairbanks, Alaska

"In my personal universe at 4 o'clock every day, I would have a doggy tea party. We would have tea and finger sandwiches. The dog's tea would be served in a golden bowl, and the finger sandwiches on jewel-encrusted platters."

Dew in the Morning

Teague Miller, Grade 5
Wolcott Elementary School
Shelby Township, Mich.

"Down the steps of my deck there are spider webs. The sprinklers soak the webs and they sparkle in the morning sun."

When Pigs Dream

Amelia Teumer, Grade 4
Dessau Elementary School
Austin, Texas

"This is Cornelius John Nubbins. He is a pig who lives at the farm where my mom works. He is having his daily nap and apparently a good dream. Sweet dreams!"

Continue to Middle School Winners > > >

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Middle School Winners

First Place


Felicity Lloyd-Jones, Grade 8
Woodward Academy Middle School
College Park, Ga.

"The pictures I take can be things that I see at school or in the city or they can be things that are just different. I enjoy taking pictures because they can show some images I see in my everyday life and some that I don't. I want others to enjoy them as well."

Second Place

Holding Your Life

Tyler Campbell, Grade 8
Carroll Middle School
Southlake, Texas

"I believe life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you react to it. You control your attitude, decisions, and your life. This picture shows how someone holds their life every day."

Jonnie Smiles

Amanda Mahoney Fernandez, Grade 7
College Place Middle School
Lynwood, Wash.

"This is my cousin Jonnie. His laugh or smile always seems to light up everyone's day. I took this picture of him in my room. My room is my universe. My family is my universe. Therefore this fits the contest theme of 'My Personal Universe'!"


Hattie Pearson, Grade 8
Woodward Academy Middle School
College Park, Ga.

"When looking through the camera lenses, I do not want to see your everyday kind of things. I want to find the very odd and interesting subjects that grasp the viewer. And when people view my pictures, I want them to have an emotional reaction."

Continue to High School Winners > > >

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High School Winners

First Place


Prumsodun Ok, Grade 12
Long Beach Polytechnic High School
Long Beach, Calif.

"It's hard to be bicultural. As I grew up, my interests often conflicted with those of my family. They think I am too Americanized. However, I still maintain my roots through dance. No matter how frustrating it can be, I will always be proud of my Cambodian-American roots and culture."

Second Place

Hanging Onto Youth

Tamara Del Valle, Grade 11
J.M. Hanks High School
El Paso, Texas

"The local band Victoria Dr. sits on top of their old elementary school jungle gym, representing their inner youth as they stare into the world of tomorrow."

Windy Day

Michael Gerdes, Grade 11
West Valley Night School
Yakima, Wash.

"My friend Pedro and I thought it would be a funny idea if it looked like I was jumping off a cliff. I merged this image of me jumping in a cannonball position with a cliff photo. Then as an afterthought I decided to make it even more interesting by adding a sign prohibiting people from jumping."

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