The Polygon’s teen photo contest winners shown in North Van

Sabrina Wu’s gripping image of a digitally stitched human/goat eye won first prize

There were plenty of stunning images to look over, but one in particular caught the eye of judges at this year’s teen photo contest at The Polygon Gallery.

Stephanie Wu’s haunting close-up of a photo-edited pupil, entitled “Human Nature,” won the annual Chester Fields contest, an initiative that encourages the development of young photographers by featuring their work on a professional platform.

“This piece visualizes the horrors of animal exploitation – a chaos disguised as the normalized order of humanity,” explains Wu in a write-up about her winning piece.

She said “Human Nature” was inspired by her childhood experience of seeing farm animals being abused, and by revisiting this dilemma she hoped to emphasize humanity’s cowardly relationship with animals.

“By merging a human’s eye within a goat’s eye, I contrast the horizontal pupil with the familiar circular pupils, creating a sinister and alienating effect,” Wu said.

The 2022 Chester Fields theme was “Look Again,” which plays off the idea of ​​the commitment to revisiting a subject over and over. Rather than capturing an image instantly, which is often the case with taking photos, photographers were challenged to choose a subject that they would revisit repeatedly over a period of time.

Works from teens across the Greater Vancouver region were reviewed by a jury of artists and art professionals, who selected works to be shown in both onsite and online exhibitions.

The two runners-up include Jeffer Ward’s “The Value,” in which he chose the dinner table as his topic.

“Companionship and food are necessities, and a dinner table provides both,” he said. “The value of gathering around one area can be overlooked and missed. So next time you’re at a table, look again and realize the memories and connections you are making.”

Jonathan Sterling’s “Letting Go” is the other finalist.

“This piece is something very personal to me because being a dark-skinned individual is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember,” he said of his work.

“The picture in the background is me currently, acknowledging my flaws and knowing that growth never stops. I’m looking away and smiling because the picture behind represents my past, and the promise to forgive myself for not loving me.”

An in-person exhibition of the shortlisted artists will be shown at The Polygon in North Vancouver until Sept. 11. An online gallery of more of the submitted works can be viewed online.

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