Artist Spotlight: Some Award Winning Work at BHSN


There are so many passionate people with powerful voices and visions in the world and while that’s wonderful, it sometimes causes communities to skim over some people. The same can be said for almost any school environment. Important people and brilliant work can be overshadowed by popular names and faces. Truth be told, people aren’t paying attention to the artists at North the way that they should be. Some people’s talents, views, and stories are just going straight over the school’s head.


James Salzer, 11, is one of the aspiring visual artists here at BHSN. Despite only taking one photography class has managed to win various awards from “The Scholastic Art and Writing” competition. He enjoys taking photos of mundane things and then tries to find the charm in them.


“I like to find beautiful things that aren’t physically there but can be there when you manipulate them enough,” Salzer said. “If I just take a picture of a white wall it’s not beautiful…but if you manipulate it a lot it can become beautiful.”


For his competition piece he submitted “Nebula,” one of his more recent works. For this he took a picture of a cool texture he saw on the floor and got it to the point where it was barely recognizable. He started by photo cropping it on his iphone, and manipulated it artistically in “Visco” before taking it to “Photoshop” for some final edits. Sometimes he combines other textures and images together to form a more dynamic image before finalizing it. He’ll be displaying some of his work at North’s “Evening of the Arts” (with a piece he actually likes more than the work he submitted) if anyone is interesting in attending.


“Beauty in almost everything else is kind of played out because everyone’s taking pictures,” he said, “I’m trying to find beauty that other people haven’t.”


Salzer’s work “Nebula” can be found below along with some of his other work


The second artist that we’re going to be focusing on is Abbey Allen, senior and international photographer here at BHSN. She’s been taking photography classes at North for a while, and seems to have a different take on her work than Salzer. Last summer Allen went to Uganda on a family trip and had the opportunity to interview different children from the impoverished community. Her art has a higher focus on situations and global issues rather than artistic design and visual appeal.


“These kids all have really tough home lives,” she said, “[It was] the poorest part of Uganda so they’re literally the poorest kids in the world.”


One of the many things Allen talked about was how the kids would go crazy over their own pictures. She talked about how they don’t get to see what they look like due to the lack of mirrors they have in their community. When she was over there, Allen tried to develop a relationship with some of the children she met and got the chance to talk to them about what they’ve been through. Her photo “Height” is of one of the girls who shared her unfortunate circumstances to her.


She takes the pictures for two reasons. One, the kids love to see their photos and two, she says there’s a big problem in Uganda: 9/10 girls by the age of ten are raped, sexually harassed or sold into slavery by their own families. By hearing these girls out she’s really trying to bring awareness to the whole situation.


However, she’s not only trying to bring attention to it, she’s using her skills to take international situations and bring a focus on them to make a point. By taking a picture, she’s not only trying to raise awareness on the poor climate there, but she’s trying to bring the situation here to criticize problems happening everywhere around us. She wants to bring worldwide problems to our attention to raise awareness about similar situations happening in America as well.


“I’m trying to bring out awareness. Though we may not be able to directly change it, we can try to get the word out. Because it happens everywhere… We can bring awareness…to stop that from happening here. It’s horrendous that it happens to anyone.”


Two of her photos are in black and white while the other is in color. All three of her photos won gold keys and can be found on this page. Her photo “Nyanzi Allan” won a silver medal, and her photo “Hide” won a gold medal. Her picture “Focus” can also be found below.