- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Two Booker T. Washington seniors have their photographs on display at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Gaby Lawson and Caty Sack, who are both enrolled in the school’s photography program, entered a contest over the summer and had photographs selected out of their portfolios for the honor, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1NI2fRR ) reported.

Robert Wakeley, their photography teacher, said the two entered the competition on their own.

“I was very proud of them for taking the independent initiative to put their work out there,” Wakeley said. “One of the hardest things as a photographer is to recognize whenever you have something that merits hours of extra work and asking friends and associates and whatnot to get online and vote and take their time to support it.”

The competition the pair entered was through an organization called SeeMe, for their Exposure award program. The rules required photographers to submit a portfolio of their work and share it with others. Those who received 100 votes and 100 comments would be eligible for the award. A panel then chose the images from their portfolios that would be placed in the digital display at the Louvre.

Sack and Lawson, who are both 17, have entered and won other photography contests, including earning Gold Key awards last year in the Scholastics art competition. But they said this competition was different.

“It was very, very exciting,” Lawson said. She said it became more real to her when she received a photo of her work on display at the museum.

Sack said she’d never marketed herself before, which was required for this competition. She’s shared her work before, but never expressly asked people to look at it or support it if they liked it.

“The fact that people I didn’t know looked at them and liked them, that was really different,” she said.

Both said the competition was a good experience.

Lawson describes her photographic style as atmospheric.

“It’s less about the subject, and more about the tone of the image,” she said.

Sack said she prefers a surreal style of photography.

“I like kind of dark photography,” she said. It’s often highly edited, she added.

Lawson’s photo that is on display at the Louvre is a close-up of a flower in her backyard. It was chosen in the microphotography category.

Sack’s two photos on display are of an old car perfectly framed by a house in the background that she shot in a neighborhood near the University of Tulsa. That was chosen for the documentary category. The other is of her brother, taken downtown with him facing a wall, with several other images edited into the window. That was chosen for a category called “Love.”

Both also had a photo nominated in the “Dreamers” category.

In addition to having their work displayed at the Louvre - where the exhibit premiered in July - their images were published in a book.

Sack and Lawson said that although they developed an interest in photography earlier, they didn’t begin to hone their skills until they entered the photography program at Booker T. Washington.

The winning photographs were also displayed in an online slideshow, which received more than 10 million views, according to SeeMe.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com


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