First published in the May 20 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
A photo of a mother and child in El Salvador taken by South Pasadena High School student Isabela Salazar recently received top honors in the annual J. Paul Getty Museum art competition.
The contest, titled “Reconnecting with ___”, received more than 16,000 submissions from 13 countries. Salazar was one of 19 winners and all of their creations will be displayed as large-scale projections at the museum in Los Angeles from June 14 through Oct. 16.
Salazar, whose family is from El Salvador, was visiting and happened upon the winning shot.
“I was walking with some family friends of ours, and the little boy, which is our friend’s son, was eating an ice cream and I just thought he looked so happy,” she said.
Salazar said she prefers to take portraits of people and often shoots in black-and-white.
“There is more of a rawness to it,” she said of her photographic choice, adding that she feels it better captures the subject’s emotions.
“You can see all the shadows and all the fine lines,” she added.
She’s taken photography classes in school and won a few contests, but nothing like the Getty competition.
Salazar, who plays guitar, is a senior at SPHS and intends to take a year off before college to tour with her all-female punk-rock band, the Linda Lindas, which has become hugely popular and will open for fellow punk-rock band the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs in October at the Hollywood Bowl.
Regarding photography, Salazar said sometimes photos happened by chance and she takes several shots to make sure the photo is just right.
“But it’s so hard because moments go by so quickly,” she said. “Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”