Four Westland High School photography students were recognized last month at Ohio's central region show of the National Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.
Seniors Sydney Brown and Brooke Patterson won Gold Key awards, automatically entering them into the national judging.
Junior Evan Hlava won two Silver Key awards and two honorable mentions for photographs he entered in the regional competition. Sophomore Destinie Ford won honorable mention.
Two Grove City High School students, Erin Cunningham and Laura Reis, also won Gold Key awards and are entered in the national judging.
The national awards will be announced beginning March 15.
The four Westland students are all enrolled in the advanced photography class taught by Sandra Bacon.
Patterson's digital art transformation of a photograph she took, entitled "Dark Loss," was meant to convey "deep, dark, sad feelings," she said.
"That's not my personality, but I wanted to try to do a piece with those emotions," Patterson said.
"I really enjoy taking pictures," she said. "The best part is when you capture something you didn't think of ahead of time."
That type of surprise makes photography particularly fun, Patterson said.
Brown's photograph "Rhythm and Blues" featured a vase filled with water.
"It really turned out well because I was able to capture the swirls and blue color of the water just right," she said. "It made the photograph look electric."
While she was happy with her photograph, she never expected it would win a Gold Key Award, Brown said.
She has taken photography classes all four years at Westland.
"I just really enjoy taking photographs and capturing the emotions of your subject," Brown said.
Hlava entered five photographs in the regional competition and four of them were recognized.
Most of the photos he entered reflected his interest in shooting old or abandoned buildings.
One of his Silver Key awards went to a photograph he took of an abandoned hospital in Lima.
"We live in a world where so much emphasis is put on perfection and I just find it interesting to examine buildings that have been left abandoned to decay," Hlava said.
Another of his entries was an aerial view of the light bulbs arrayed at the front of the Late Night Slice pizzeria in the Short North.
The image of the bright lights against the old former office building that now houses Late Night Slice intrigued him, he said.
Hlava said he plans to study photography in college.
"I'd love to get a freelance job someday, maybe taking photo- graphs for National Geographic," he said.
Ford said she likes adding elements of surrealism to her work, including the digital art piece she submitted for the competition.
The piece was inspired by the Train song, "Drops of Jupiter" and features a picture she took of her face altered to represent the planet Saturn. She scanned and superimposed images of space and pressed flowers onto her face.
"I like working in surrealism because I like manipulating reality with my work," Ford said.