Local student and photographer to compete in New York

Brilliant sunsets, delicate sculptures and breathtaking photos are on display in South Bend for a limited time.

The artists are not from New York or Chicago. They are from right here in northern Indiana and they are only teenagers.

NewsCenter 16’s Tricia Sloma got a closer look at some pictures that tell quite a story.

Gold and silver keys mark the best of the best at the scholastic art awards show at the South Bend Museum of Art.

Chair Cheryl Phelan said, “I am always amazed at the stories behind the work...how it affects them what they are trying to say, or how they come to this conclusion.”

Phelan is impressed by the quality of work headed to the next level, a national contest in New York City.

“To get an award at the national level, is huge. It's huge,” said Phelan.

Photographer Laura Herron's work is headed there.

Laura said, “A couple of my strongest pieces were from a mission trip to Nicaragua.”

The Marian High School senior documented some remarkable images from that trip.

Like the unforgettable gaze of a mother and daughter, or joyful expressions caught almost by accident.

“I just captured some really beautiful moments there. They are definitely my favorites and that's why I entered them this year for Scholastics,” said Laura.

Laura has a knack for taking pictures of people in their most natural state.

“I don't like to ask for the smile or look at the camera,” said Laura. “I just kind of keep clicking. Keep kind of taking the pictures, sometimes I end up with the most beautiful pictures that way.”

You would think a seasoned photographer took these photographs, but really, Laura's only been at this since starting high school.

Laura said, “Probably my freshman year, I got my first camera, just a small compact camera. Just started shooting around with that and found out that I really liked it.”

A friend convinced her to show the pictures to the girl’s mom Kitty Gunty, the art teacher at Marian High School.

“She has really beautiful values that she captures with light,” said Mrs. Gunty about Laura. “She knows how to frame things. Perspective and composition seem to be real natural for her."

Mrs. Gunty convinced Laura, then a sophomore, to enter the Scholastic Competition and her photo won a national award.

It is titled "Happy Thanksgiving."

“I just think it’s funny because no one was actually mad. And everyone thinks they were. Right as I went to take the picture everyone just looked down at me, just straight faced. They were listening to someone tell the story. It just came off that they were all really angry,” explained Laura.

“She seems to capture a moment that is very ordinary but is very extraordinary,” said Mrs. Gunty.

Mrs. Gunty's guidance has helped Laura realize her potential.

“I said Laura you need to look at this. Look at what you're doing. Couldn't you love doing this every day?”

Now, Laura wants to challenge others to see art in everyday life.

“Everything around you is art. If you drank out of a coffee mug this morning, an artist designed that. If you drove in a car to work this morning an artist designed it. If you're watching TV, an artist put this together. You really can go far with it,” said Laura.

As far as the eye, and Laura's camera lens can see.

The students' artwork will be on display at the South Bend Museum of Art through Saturday, March 5.

So you have another week if you would like to see the talent of the young people of Michiana.

The museum is asking for a $5 donation if you attend and we have a link to the students' creative work, just click on the Big Red Bar.

To read about another student, Garret Blad, click here.

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