Picture perfect



South Williamsport Area High School sophomore, Jenna Rankinen, originally entered the Antonelli Institute’s annual photography and art contest as part of a class project, but she ended up coming in third place in the whole competition. She received her award at the high school on May 27 morning.

The Antonelli Institute, 300 Montgomery Ave., Erdenheim, was founded in 1938 in Philadelphia by internationally renowned photographer and artist Severo Antonelli. The institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. It’s mission is to prepare motivated students for entry-level positions leading to careers in the photographic and graphic design professions.

The competition asked students to submit a self portrait to be judged. They were not able to use Photoshop techniques, with the exception of making the photo black and white. There were about 800 entries from eight different states, ranging from California to Connecticut.

Each year South Williamsport Area High School’s photography teacher, Mike Steppe, has his students enter the competition. He does not grade the students’ work, but he gives them class credit for completing the project. From there the projects are sent to the Antonelli Institute for judging.

This is the first year the a student from South Williamsport has placed in the competition. Steppe hopes that with Rankinen winning this year, it will inspire other students to want to enter the competition.

“I think because the objectives are not very clear in the contest, interpretation is important,” Steppe said, “I’m hoping that students will go out there and try something that is unique and different.”

Steppe said he encouraged his students to show their character through the photograph they were submitting.

“I think with the winners of the contest, the judges could see the character of the person and they could see the story being told in the photograph,” Steppe said.

When Rankinen was brainstorming ideas for her photograph, she decided to incorporated her love of ballet, which she has been participated in for 12 years.

“I absolutely love it, especially point,” Rankinen said.

She looked on Pinterest and was inspired by the different black and white photographs of dancers in a simple pose. She decided to try to replicate the photographs using herself as the dancer.

She took the photo in her dining room at her home, with her mom holding a flashlight to add lighting. She then put a black and white filter on it to create a simple, but dramatic shot.

For more information on the Antonelli Institute and to see the winner’s work visit www.antonelli.edu/index.php.