The NOMA Teen Art Council presents the Teen Photo Challenge: Captured in Quarantine. Teens in New Orleans and beyond were invited to reflect on their experience of current events through the medium of photography. All submissions were reviewed by members of the Teen Art Council and Brian Piper, the Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator of Photography.
“Throughout the past few months, I have been spending my time capturing pictures of how the Covid-19 has affected New Orleans. The motorcade protest depicts a protester demanding prisoners be released in order to ensure everyone stays healthy. The Capturing the Moment photo depicts an artist painting the new norm as we have an obligation to wear masks. The Please Be Brave photograph depicts a theme as this message has been seen around the city. The message is telling the people to stay healthy and protect themselves. These photographs are important to me because I have spent countless hours trying to tell a story through taking photographs that show how New Orleanians have responded to Covid-19. This challenge interested me because it gives me an opportunity to display this story to others.”
Alistair, 17, is a rising senior at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. As our grand prize winner, Alistair will receive a professional portfolio review with Brian Piper, Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator for Photography. Follow Alistair’s work @alistaircunninghamphotography on instagram.
“The photos I have selected embody the three themes that encapsulated my quarantine—adaptation, productivity, and community,” Catherine writes. Regarding her photograph Taking to the Streets, Catherine reflects, “In times as tough as this pandemic, a sense of community can be one of the most helpful things to survive. Whether members of communities were grocery shopping for at-risk populations, placing paintings of rainbows in their windows as a sign of hope, or finding ways to thank essential workers, community reliance became a crucial part of this quarantine. The peaceful protest I have photographed here is an outstanding example of community. The people present at these protests had largely obeyed social distancing guidelines until the murder of George Floyd, but they recognized the movement to fight for Black lives as being a worthy risk.”
There’s Work to be Done captures a quieter moment witnessed during quarantine. Catherine writes, “An effect of us not frequenting businesses, of course, was more empty time to complete tasks we had put off or been too busy to complete. This quarantine allowed an opportunity to catch up on chores and to-do lists, such as painting the bar that suddenly became empty.”
Catherine Cahn, 18, is a recent graduate of the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, and will be attending Tufts University in the Fall of 2020. Catherine is an aspiring screenwriter and director. Follow her on instagram @catherinecahn.
In her photograph Desertion, Celia captures Loyola University’s eerily empty campus. She writes, “[the photograph] describes Loyola University and the streetcars that have been emptied out due to the pandemic. Loyola’s campus used to be a bustling place with many students and now it’s more of a ghost town. While the streetcars that used to run all day and be packed with people are now empty. The streetcar used to be my ride to school.”
Celia Khalaf, 16, is a rising junior at the McGeehee School in New Orleans. Celia is passionate about photography and aspires to make it a career. “My goal is to have people see the world through my lens and inspire them”. Follow Celia’s work on instagram at @photo_works22.
“A month into quarantine, I saw this fiddler playing at sunset on the Lakefront. It made me sad that no one was around to hear his beautiful music. A few weeks later I could feel the people’s frustration. No one really talked as you passed them. Benches were overturned, swings were knotted, and police tape was ripped off of things.”
Kason Gorney, 17, is a rising junior at St. Paul’s School in Covington, LA. Follow Kason’s work on instagram @kasonjorney.
Teen Photo Challenge graphics feature photographs by recent Teen Art Council alumni and photographer Kayla Andrus (@kayla.d.andrus)