FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Young shooters with an eye for beauty won awards in an annual photography contest held last week at the School Age Center on Fort Drum.

The 13 winners - nine of whom are 11 or younger - will see their art advance to the regional level of the Boys and Girls Club of America's ImageMakers National Photography Contest.

The children competed in five categories: color photography, black-and-white photography, alternative photography (altering photos, using programs such as Photoshop), digital photography and photography essay.

Participants also were classified into four different age groups: 9 and younger, 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18.

The winners of the contest were Isabella Jones, 6, black-and-white photography; Teauna Harris, 7, photography essay; Asinante "Bella" Machia, 8, color photography; Tanesha Singleton, 8, alternative photography; and Elijah Frances, 8, digital photography.

Also, Cedric Smedes, 10, color photography; Louis Barreto, 10, black-and-white photography and photography essay; Cedarious Barfield, 10, alternative photography; and Genna Higginbotham, 11, digital photography.

Also, Carlos Paterson, 13, black-and-white photography; Adrianna Harris, 13, digital photography; Brenda Hernandez, 16, black-and-white photography; and Dominic McDonald, 16, digital photography.

"I think it's awesome, having the children participate in this photo contest," said Robin Moore, director of Fort Drum's School Age Center. "It's an encouragement to them.

"If we have children who later get into photography, having these (contests) increases their knowledge and will give them a (head start)."

The BGCA's ImageMakers national contest has been recognizing young photographers for 50 years.

Contestants are told a photograph can tell as much about the photographer as it does about the subject in the photo.

"Being a photographer means expressing what you think, showing what you feel, telling what you know, and sharing what you see," states ImageMakers' home page.

During the contest, youths individually chose what to photograph. Submitted images ranged from fruit to flowers to Family Members.

Winners at the regional level will have their artwork entered at the national level. Fort Drum had two regional winners last year.

Julia M. Nieves-Soto, supervisor of the School Age Center's technology lab and photography club, coordinated this year's event, in which 82 students from the School Age Center and the Youth Center participated.

She said the technical ability of students, regardless of age, was impressive.

"We got a winner in the alternative (category) ... and she's just 8 years old!" Nieves-Soto said.
Regional winners will be announced in June; national winners will be announced in July.