Chase Osborne doesn't have any fancy photography equipment like some of his AP Photography classmates have. His sole camera is the one on his iPhone 6s Plus.
But that phone camera, coupled with his talent for photography, landed him top honors in the 2017 photography show at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.
"I never thought I'd win something like this," Osborne said.
Osborne, 17, is a junior at Northwest High School. His photograph, "The Chase," shows him running on the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. He set his iPhone up on a tree, used a 10-second timer and ran across several large rocks. He took five of the best photos he captured and combined them in Photoshop to create his winning image.
"I'm chasing myself," Osborne said, playing off his first name, Chase. He frequents the trail and enjoys running there; he is doing a concentration in running photography for his photography class.
The theme for the photography show this year is "Explore." This is the second year JHU held a separate exhibit to showcase the photography of Montgomery County Public Schools high school students. Previously, a single exhibit featured both photography and canvas works.
In all, students from 13 Montgomery County public high schools now have their photos on exhibit at the JHU Montgomery County Campus. It is a competitive process: Of the 261 photographs submitted, jurors selected 53 to be showcased, and only five won prizes.
An opening reception for the exhibit was held on campus in March. Parents, students, and community residents gathered to view the art and hear the winners announced. The exhibit will be on display through May 12 in the lobby of the campus's 9605 Building. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is one of JHU's programs designed to get children excited about STEAM education—science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
Another standout photograph was Coleman Martinis' "Grab 'Em By the Eyes." Martinis, a Poolesville High School senior, won second place for his photograph.
Martinis never took a fine arts class until this year. He is in the humanities magnet program and took art history last year, which he enjoyed. When his teacher suggested he try photography, he was skeptical because he says he isn't skilled at drawing, painting, or even handwriting. But he decided to give it a try, going straight to AP Photography.
"It would allow me to capture what I saw in my head without forcing me to rely on my drawing ability," Martinis said.
His photograph was taken at Markoff's Haunted Forest in Dickerson. The box of eyes is a prop. The hands are his brother's.
Below is a list of winners and comments about their work from jurors Jim Tretick and Liliane Blom:
1st Place: "The Chase," by Chase Osborne of Northwest High School: The color and the movement make this image stand out. The muted background allows the runners to show up richer, and the transparency is just fun. An innovative use of photography and digital media creates an eye-catching piece of art that is not only technically successful—with deep rich blacks and good color balance—but also closely related to the theme of exploration both in subject matter and technique. An outstanding piece all around.
2nd Place: "Grab 'Em by the Eyes." by Coleman Martinis of Poolesville High School: This image is unique. It fits the category is so many different ways. It makes the viewer ask, "What else is possible?" Technically and artistically successful, it is a well-balanced composition and well lit. It has excellent color rendition and good tonal range. An imaginative interpretation of the theme, it's a piece that can be seen as both humorous and slightly creepy. Very well done.
3rd Place: "Golden Drift," by Dylan Fan of Winston Churchill High School: This tranquil scene draws you in, and the colors keep you there. An absolutely gorgeous landscape and print, the composition, crop, and use of color make it stand out.
Honorable Mention: "Twisted Adventure," by Maddie Bonchick of Quince Orchard High School: The curved path of the railroad tracks makes you dream of places to go. This excellent photo montage seems to address teenage angst of unknown future explorations. The print has an excellent tonal range with nice rich blacks and a sepia coloring that enhances the mood of the piece.
Honorable Mention: "Consumed," by Sruthi Srinivasan of Quince Orchard High School: This is really fabulous—the text, with its hint of adventure, the tear in the page, and the eyes all team up to make you want to explore. This piece is a good composition with excellent use of focal depth and a good tonal range—a good use of negative space to balance the composition.