"Submitting work to The New York Times was terrifying, but it also immediately enlarged the students’ stage: there was a chance their voices would be heard and their images seen around the world."
Every currently enrolled Lovett student is a member of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015), a group that by 2019 will comprise one-third of the world’s population. But the generation doesn’t yet have a proper name--the Generation Z moniker is really just a placeholder--or a clear identity. That will come with time. Nonetheless, today’s teenagers no doubt feel misunderstood by their parents and other adults and are eager to define their generations themselves, rather than have it defined for them. TheNew York Times recently offered just that opportunity.
In a student contest advertised in early September, the Times invited teenagers around the world to “take photographs that depict some aspect of teenage life that you think may be misunderstood, ignored, or largely unknown, and, in a short artist’s statement, tell us why.”
Upper School photography teacher Karey Walter immediately recognized the potential of the contest and integrated it into her Photography 3 curriculum. While photo 3 students spend plenty of time perfecting the technical aspects of their craft, they are also learning to use photography to tell their story and to communicate a clear message. Submitting work to TheNew York Times was terrifying, but it also immediately enlarged the students’ stage: there was a chance their voices would be heard and their images seen around the world.
In the artist statement accompanying her photography, Sophia Carrano ‘19 wrote, “These three images embody my generation and depict us as socially conscious, strong, and ready to make our mark.” Sophia Yan ‘19 challenged assumptions about technology, writing “Personally, I believe the burden of being pioneers in the information age is greater than the benefits.” Henry Sharp ‘19 reflected on the stress he and his classmates feel and then explained, “Our generation has the capability to share mindfulness with the rest of the world.”
Impressively, one of the 36 finalists out of over 2200 entrants is Lovett’s own Zelle Westfall ‘19, who submitted a three-photograph series that challenges preconceived notions about race. Zelle quoted one of her subjects who concluded, “There is no one way to be black.” You can see several of the students’ works in the photo gallery to the right (or at the bottom if on a mobile device). See images from all 36 finalists here.