Campo Verde High School freshman Victoria Bridges didn’t think too much of the project she submitted for her photography class when she first snapped the shot. In the end, her lack of enthusiasm was countered by her eventual victory in an art competition that’ll send her to Washington this summer.
Bridges took first in the Congressional Art Competition for the congressional district she resides in, District 5, which is represented by Rep. Matt Salmon. Earning the top mark in the contest means she and her family earn a trip to Washington, and her project gets to hang on a wall of the House of Representatives for a year.
Bridges’ project is a still life photo called “Forever Broken,” inspired by a piece by Bulgarian artist George Rustchev. Both her piece and Rustchev’s are still-life photos of apples that were cut apart and then sewn back together — Bridges said the latter was not simple.
She hadn’t heard of Rustchev before she picked him for her class assignment — students had to imitate an artist’s style — but she liked his darker imagery and used that as the template. It was part of a larger project in which she researched Rustchev’s style and wrote a paper about it.
“When I was first taking the photo, I thought nothing of it,” she said.
Winning for Bridges was a little unexpected, but photography teacher Lindsey Hoffman praised her student’s photo in an email, calling it “creative and unique.”
“You can tell she spent a lot of time and effort working on getting the exact lighting and angle for the shot,” she said.
The idea to submit her students’ work into the contest started about two years ago when Hoffman first learned about the competition. Since then, Hoffman said students turn in their best work during the school year and she whittles entrants down to 60. A second round of judges, this time Campo Verde teaching staff, go back through again and pick their favorite shots until one last list of 15 is chosen to represent Campo Verde at the competition.
Prior to this year, Hoffman said Campo Verde’s best result in the two years prior was a second-place finish, so hearing her student’s name when the winner was announced created a reaction that was “a bit over the top.” At the least, it was loud enough to draw Salmon’s attention.
“When they called her name, I just clapped and squealed. I was just so proud of her.”
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