SVHS Sweeps Up the ScCo Clicks Competition


Tymen Giller

Peyton Rosa, Best in Show winner, posing with her Alternative Photograph titled, “Double Exposure Cyanotype.”

Lauren Hengehold, writer

The SoCo Clicks contest, a photography competition that highlights outstanding work in Still World photography, Photojournalism, Alternative photography, Natural World photography, and Portraits at a high school and college level, has announced its top three winners for each category and its Best in Show submission. The Sonoma Valley High Schoolers who won are Peyton Rosa (Best in Show, “Double Exposure Cyanotype”), Yanell Valazquez (1st place Alternative, “Floral Footware), Yudelkis Gonzales (2nd place Still World, “On a Hanger”), and Sophia Girguis (3rd place Portraits, “On Display”).

The competition was judged by five professional photographers from Sonoma County, and was evaluated over the course of two weeks. According to photography teacher Mr. Mitchell, they “took the entire group (about 300 submissions) and chose contenders from those works to move onto round two; and then from that group chose 10 images for round three, and proceeded to choose a first, second, and third.” He continued, “from all the first place winners, they chose a Best in Show.” The judges chose first, second, and third winners, but had no honorable mentions.

Junior, Peyton Rosa, winner of the Best in Show Award, said that when creating her piece, she “wanted something simple that would catch somebody’s attention.” In her unique photo, she says she was “trying for a double exposure, but wanted both sides to be the same and less dramatic.” Her inspiration came from Mr. Mitchell, who advised her to turn her photo into a Cyanotype; a type of alternative photography. She says, “that’s what won the award, because it was just a very different type [of photo].”

Elaborating on her creative process, she claimed to have wanted to “try and do something different and make it as creative as possible.” Rosa admitted she “[doesn’t] think she’ll consider a career in photography, but [says] it’s something that’s really great to have under [her] belt, and [it’s] just a good hobby.” On her takeaways from photography class, Peyton says her “favorite part was probably the fact that [she was] able to do AP photo.” She adds, “I didn’t know that that was a class I could take.” AP Photography has only 4 people enrolled, just two of which having submitted a portfolio.

There were five winners from the SRJC, three winners from Petaluma High School, three from Santa Rosa High School, and of course four winners from SVHS. The top winners are said to receive camera equipment, and a potential cash prize as well. Mitchell adds, “Best of Show will receive the most [prizes], and first, second, and third places will receive prizes in proportion with their place.” Photographers had the chance to submit any photo they’ve taken from the start of the pandemic until now. They’ve only announced the winners of our group, and the rest of the winners will be announced through the website at the end of month.

Yanell Velazquez, 1st place Alternative winner, posing with her photo titled “Floral Footware.”

Senior Yanell Velazquez won first place Alternative with her submission titled, “Floral Footware.” The abstract and unordinary photograph took inspiration from “Jug Winn, an advertisement photographer.” Yanell adds, “I decided that I wanted to follow her style.” On the process of capturing her first place photo, Yanell describes, “I found a shoe that I have and a bouquet of fake flowers, so I put it into the shoe and then had my sister hold it. Then, I photoshopped the background in.” Although her photo won first place, she thinks the art will be more of a side interest while she studies child development at the SRJC. She thinks her favorite part of taking photo this year was “all of the assignments, and getting to work in the dark room.”

Yudelkis Gonzales, 2nd place Still World winner, posing with her photograph titled “On a Hanger.” (Tymen Giller)

Yudelkis Gonzales, senior, said she was inspired to take her 2nd-place-winning Still World photo as she was doing work for a photography assignment. “I was handwashing a really delicate top, and then as I put it to dry on the clothing line, I really liked the contrast between the blue and the chartreuse wall, so she decided to take the picture.” Her photo features a knitted shirt hanging from a clothes line, the title of her photograph being “On a Hanger.” She adds, “I wanted to emphasize the picture’s range of color, so I turned up the saturation and the sharpness to make it pop.” On her future plans, Yudelkis says she is not considering a career or a minor in photography, but says it will definitely be one of her creative hobbies. “Taking photography this year has really allowed me to translate my emotions into artwork.” Because of the pandemic, students had the option to submit a photograph that had been taken over the course of two years.

Sophia Girguis, 3rd place Portraits winner, posing with her photograph titled, “On Display.” (Tymen Giller)

Lastly, at the competition, senior Sophia Girguis presented an eerie photo featuring junior Daphne Fedor, her submission titled, “On Display.” Her incredible eye for photography was proven to be innate as she credits her inspiration simply to the scene’s “cool” look. “We went to the SDC, and I just found some awesome lighting.” Sophia received third place in Portraits, and in response to how the win has impacted her she says, “[the award] made me more confident in my photography skills.” She adds, “I may minor in photography in college,” where she will be attending UC Irvine. The SVHS Photography department has been rewarding for Girgius as she specifically says “learning photoshop” and being taught by the “great Mr Mitchell ” were her most favorite parts of the class this year. Mr. Mitchell set up all the submission forms, organized all the judging pieces, and helped with a new website that’s going to be built for the contest next year.