The Top 4%: Student photographers become finalists

Four NPHS students have succeeded in becoming finalists in the nationwide Photographer’s Forum Magazine Student Photo Contest: seniors Andy Cho, Madison Hutchison, Brandon Chen, and Monetha Raghani.

“Photographer’s Forum is a big magazine in the photography industry. It’s a really prestigious magazine as well,” Chen said.

Of the 14,000 contestants that had competed to become finalists, only 4% succeeded in doing so.

“It’s kind of validating for the work I have put in,” Cho said. His feelings are similar to Hutchison’s, who feels proud of her effort and her leading position in the contest.  

“(It makes me feel) pretty good, because it was out of college too, so (there were) a lot of students,” Hutchison said.

As the the competition progresses, these students will have the potential to advance further.

“There is a finalist group, and so if you make it into that you have a chance of making it into the honorable mentions, which is 100 people, and then first through fourth place for high school and first through fourth place for college,” Raghani said.

These finalists became involved with the competition through their AP and IB Photo Year Two class with Eric Lindroth. Participating in the competition was a requirement for his students.

“(Mr. Lindroth) said anyone could enter it, so I figured it’s my second year in the class, and I might as well,” Chen said.

Despite its success, Cho was not initially pleased with how the photo he had taken turned out.

“It was a picture of the Milky Way over Boney Mountain, and the fog came over the hills …  I didn’t like those pictures originally, and I didn’t fit them until this year, and (so) this year I decided to go back and process them and they turned out okay,” Cho said.

Hutchison’s picture, a scenic shot of a highway bordering the ocean, was taken on the Pacific Coast Highway.

There is a monetary reward for winning the photography competition: $2,000 and a Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art lens for first place; $1,500 for second place; $1,000 for third place; and $125 for fourth place.

However, Cho is not sure as to whether he expects to see any of this money as competitors are continually weeded out.

“There is always hope, but I’m not expecting anything,” Cho said.

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