3 Valley Students Honored by the Getty in its Unshuttered Contest

Talent in bloom.

Three Valley teens were among 25 winners in the third annual Unshuttered student photography contest hosted by the Getty. This year’s theme, “A Spectrum of…” asked photographers to consider the different spectrums they experience in their lives and those they witness. The local trio were selected from more than 2,800 submissions from 134 cities across California.

A Spectrum of Connection

Samaya Sayana-Manchanda, 16  |  Harvard-Westlake School

“Through my lens, I’ve been able to observe and connect with my grandmother from a different perspective. She has been our family matriarch and has paved a path for my mother and her three sisters. In the context of ‘traditional’ Hindu culture, women don’t often receive the recognition they deserve. I wanted to showcase her strength. I know what she has sacrificed; I am here because of my Amama (grandmother). In this photo, I strategically focused on her behind the window, with my shadow encompassing her against the hard sun. I hope to show how I view myself within her, and the strength that she teaches me.”

A Spectrum of Culture 

Francesca Varese, 16  |  Harvard-Westlake School

“My mother seldom sees herself in me. We have grown up in different countries and cultures that have placed an unbreakable distance between us. I speak her language in fractures; I am not the Mexican daughter she’s always dreamed I would be. I created this image to explore the spectrum with which we experience being Hispanic in the United States, and how this impacts our relationship. By capturing her reflection in a piece of traditional Mexican artistry I am holding, I tried to portray how, although our life experiences may completely diverge, we are forever connected by our shared blood and ancestry.”

A Spectrum of Affection

Tallulah Heder, 16  |  John Burroughs High School

“Whether that affection be for your siblings, parents, guardians, friends, or other loved ones, love and affection is what makes us human and alive. My goal was to capture what love looks like between two siblings. The photo shows an older sister and a younger brother hugging, which is their way of showing affection. You could also interpret the hug as the older sister protecting the younger brother. When I showed this photo to my classmates in Photography 2 class, they said it felt like it would be the type of photo you’d see in the dust bowl era of the 1930s.”

For more on the annual contest, go to unshuttered.org.

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