Ponitz senior takes top prize in national photo contest
When she first started to look at the photographs hanging in the digital design classroom last year, Ponitz senior Cha’Reese Robinson had no idea of the intricacies that went into capturing the perfect shot – she only knew she simply had to capture the same kind of magical images.
One year later, Robinson has accomplished her goal, winning first prize in the national photo contest sponsored by school memorabilia company Jostens. She bested more than 8,000 entries from students around the country, winning top honors in the “Graduation” category.
The picture, taken during last year’s graduation at Ponitz, shows a graduate who had lined up backstage in preparation of marching across the stage. The graduate sees Robinson and offers a genuine smile.
The shot was unplanned, and not edited; it was one of four pictures she entered in the graduation and portrait categories. Contest judges praised Robinson’s work as being warm, noting it’s not easy to capture such a strong sense of connection between the subject and camera. (Hear their critique of Robinson’s work, around the 5:50 mark).
Robinson was encouraged to enter the contest by her teacher, digital design instructor PR Frank. He noted his student was also part of the website design team that won top awards in the Business Professionals of America competition during the past two years.
“She makes teaching easier,” Frank said. “She asks the kinds of questions no one else will. Cha’Reese is hungry for knowledge.”
Not bad for someone who admits the only thing she used to know about cameras was to press a button. As part of Frank’s class, Robinson said she asked a lot of questions about how the camera functions, how to use lighting and filters, and above all, took lots and lots of pictures. The arts and communication career path at Ponitz has allowed her to develop her love of photography, and she said she gravitates toward capturing images of people with different looks.
Next year, she is bound for Urbana University, majoring in communication arts with a minor in business.
Photography “will always be a part of me,” she said. “Even if I’m a Fortune 500 CEO, I’ll always have a camera with me.”