Senior Sam Bartlett qualifies for national student photo contest

Preston Hunt, Reporter

Sam Bartlett
This photo was taken during the 2018-2019 boys basketball season and features graduate Caleb Grill dunking.

Photography is used diversely throughout media of all kinds. Whether it’s publications, books or movies, photos are present in many forms. For senior Sam Bartlett, however, his photography has qualified him as a finalist in a national contest.

Each year, the National Student Press Association holds a competition asking students nationwide to submit photography they have taken for their own school publications. This year, Bartlett has been chosen as one of 40 finalists from 952 submissions for a picture taken of Maize graduate Caleb Grill slam dunking.

“I was very proud of that picture,” Bartlett said. “It had gotten some attention, but for it to be nominated in that way, I was very pleased and excited. Even to be one of the finalists is a huge honor.”

Journalism teacher Dan Loving enters student photography for a multitude of competitions each year, and this is the third time a student has been chosen as a finalist.

“As soon as he showed me the picture, I knew it was an award winner,” Loving said. “There was no doubt in my mind that it was good enough to enter and possibly win some competitions.”

Shooting sports requires the photographer to know the sport they’re capturing. Bartlett tries to predict what the player’s movements will be before they make them.

“It takes a little bit of knowing what sport you’re shooting and knowing the players,” Bartlett said. “Anticipation is huge. I knew what Caleb had done in every game leading up to that one, and if he was on a breakaway he’d slam dunk.”

Loving said he and Bartlett continue to teach each other new techniques, and beyond his involvement in newsmag, Bartlett has skill as a photographer in general.

“He came in with a natural ability, and he works at it a lot on his own time,” Loving said. “He’s a really good example that if you study a craft and you continue to work at it, then you’ll continue to get better at it. Sometimes he teaches me more about photography than I teach him.”

Bartlett said that although he enjoys shooting sports, he also shoots other subjects outside of newsmag.

“I do enjoy sports a lot, because you’re able to get a lot of different things in a short time period,” Bartlett said. “I like just capturing anything that I can, though. I like doing portraiture and I like doing landscape photography, but sports is definitely up there as it’s something that’s just really fun to do.”

Bartlett will be recognized among other finalists, and the winners of the competition will be announced Nov. 23 at the National High School Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C.