Junior Named National Scholastic Art Awards Winner

Windward Communications

Claire Factor '22 is the recipient of TWO NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC ART AWARDS for 2021—one Gold Medal and one Silver Medal. The Scholastic Art Awards is the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.

We sat down with Claire to learn more about her passion for photography and the inspiration behind her winning photos! Congratulations, Claire!

What is the context behind your award-winning photographs? Where were they taken?

My photos were taken on a trip to Nepal and India I went on two summers ago. I did a medical internship in Nepal where I went on rounds in various local hospitals, went to lectures on anatomy and the local language and culture, and volunteered at a local elementary school. In the elementary school, my group and I taught the students dental hygiene. During recess they were all very excited to show us some of their tricks. That is where I took the photo Playground, which won a silver medal. A few weeks later, I traveled to India with my family. At night my dad and I would walk around the city observing everyone selling and buying goods. I brought along my camera and began taking photos. We walked along one street that was filled with basket vendors and that is where I took my photo The Streets Of Varanasi, which one a gold medal. 

What is your favorite thing about photography?

I love how photography is like putting light on pause. Your camera gathers the light and preserves it as an image. The light remains frozen in time. Then you look at the image and the light from that resumes its travel to your eyes. I also love editing my photos because it feels like I am painting with light. With every pixel I change, I am warping reality to create something that has never actually existed. 

What advice would you give anyone interested in starting out in photography?

Practice, practice, practice. And did I mention practice? The more photos you take, the more comfortable you become with your camera and your photo editing software. Your sense of style will also start to emerge. It is helpful for me to make a Pinterest board for inspiration. Try to recreate photos or specific elements from photos that you like. This helped me learn/study composition and practice planning out shoots. After a while you can just use the board as a guide for the overall feeling you wish to invoke.