Congratulations are in order for Brooks School photographer Hannah Latham '17, who just won a highly competitive Boston Globe 2017 Massachusetts Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Award.
The North Andover artist was recently awarded the top designation of "Gold Key" for her art portfolio "Identity," as well as a "Silver Key" for her "Red Rooftops" and "Baths of Budapest" photographs plus honorable mentions for her "Alaric," "Kings of Leon," and "Shaving Away the Patriarchy" photos.
"This kind of recognition is extremely exciting," said Latham. "As a student photographer, I've been working hard at getting my name out there and preparing my portfolio for colleges, and this award validates that hard work."
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, founded in 1923 and presented by the non-profit organization Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, aims to "identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world," according to its website. A win not only provides recognition, it offers the chance for artists to exhibit and publish their work, as well as be considered for scholarships.
Regional Gold Key winners like Latham are automatically considered for a national award, decided in mid-March, and invited to a ceremony at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on March 11.
"To get this kind of award, you have to actively pursue it," said Latham's visual arts teacher Tabitha Sherrell. "This is something that even adult artists struggle to get the gumption to do. It's hard to get your work noticed."
Judges for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards deliberated over 15,000 pieces of work. In Latham's category of Art Portfolio, she personally competed against nearly 500 other high school seniors. Winners had to be original, creative and high-concept, said Sherrell. "That's a lot for anyone, let alone a high school kid, but Hannah nailed it. She's an exceptional student."
Latham put her application together at the beginning of the school year. "I sent in photos to this competition a couple years ago and left without any awards," she said. "Coming back with a Gold Key now helps to show the progress I've made even in a couple years."
While Sherrell touts Latham's natural abilities including "great technical sense, photography skills and post-processing strength," the artist herself cites learning opportunities as the key to her growth. "I'm proud of what I was able to do to put my portfolio together," said the artist, whose work was also selected for the Flash Forward Incubator Program and published in 2016. "Several of the pieces are made from alternative photographic processes that I learned how to do in classes at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport ... others are from my independents here at Brooks."
Juggling her photography passion with regular schoolwork, Latham — who hopes to pursue a dual-degree program in photography and human rights in college next year — has still managed to develop her own website, hannahlatham.com, and work assisting local photographers. "I've been trying to educate myself outside of school so that I can continue to get better," she said. "I've taken dozens of classes at Maine Media Workshops in the fall and over the summer, and at The New England School of Photography in Boston. I've continued to do independents here at Brooks too, so that I can make time to work on my personal projects."
Another piece that sets Latham apart is the topics on which she's chosen to focus, said Sherrell. "She deals with tough subjects: identity, gender identity and social dynamics," explained the teacher. "These are big topics for her to take on, but she does because she wants to stand up for what she believes in."
See for yourself at the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Key exhibit. The free public event, sponsored by the Boston Globe Foundation, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston, will be held March 11 through March 26 at Boston Public Schools' Headquarters in the Bruce C. Bolling Building in Roxbury, Mass., daily 12 – 6 p.m.
To learn more about art at Brooks School, click here. And follow Brooks School on Instagram to see a new photo, featuring the classes, activities and sports on campus, every day throughout the year.