The Story behind the photography in the THS Media Center

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The Story behind the photography in the THS Media Center

Ethan Samet, Editor

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Have you ever noticed the photographs in our Media Center? Have you ever wondered how they were selected? We decided to learn a little more about the student work in the library. The photography shows have been held twice a year for the past five years and  they are made up of photography students’ work from either the fall or spring semesters. But the really interesting part of the shows is how the works to be displayed are selected. We asked Mr. Hartman about the work and he explained that the images in the Media Center were actually selected by professional photographers. Students have to upload up to four photographs to an online site where the judges then go in and rank the photos on a scale from one to five stars. Once all the judges completed their rankings, the scores were averaged and the 37 highest ranked images were printed, matted, and framed for display. So, the work you see in the library are the 37 best images out of over 180 photos submitted for judging. There is also a ‘Best in Show’ award given to the image with the highest cumulative ranking. The recipient of this award for the fall semester was Alethia Gilreath for her piece entitled “Prismatic Circle”.

Alethia Gilreath “Prismatic Circle”

But, we were curious about the judges, so Mr. Hartman explained that they are actually all former students of his who are now professional photographers and they volunteer their time twice every year to participate in the judging process. The fall show featured four judges, one of whom was our own principal Mr. Berry. The other judges were Kim Hockman, Erin Watson, and Samantha Czeh.

Leon Alquati “Nature’s Heart”

Kim Hockman, a graduate of Frederick High School in 2004 is the owner of Kim Hockman Photography and specializes in portraiture, specifically families and babies. Her work can be seen on her Facebook Business Page called “Kim Hockman Photography”.  Unfortunately, we were not able to catch  up with her to interview her for this article, but we certainly appreciate her time and dedication to our students here at THS (especially since she was a Cadet!)

Mrs. Erin Brennan-Watson first met Mr. Hartman back in her freshman year in her first ever Photography one classes and has been judging the photography show since the first one in 2015.  Her passion for photography was inspired by the idea of being able to capture the emotions and feelings of whatever she was taking a picture of, Photography also provided Erin with an outlet to express herself creatively, something she has enjoyed ever since discovering it. Today Mrs. Watson has a full flung business dedicated to photography, primarily shooting weddings, families, and newborn babies. She believes that the hardest part of judging the photo show is “Not being able to explain why I ranked one a certain way, or talk to the photographer about their inspiration for the photo they took”. You can see more of her work at her website:

Christopher Vasquez “Neon Brother”

Ms. Samantha Czeh also met Mr. Hartman in one of his many photography classes and has been judging the semiannual photo show since 2018. For Samantha the hardest part of judging the photo show was that “So many of the photos reminded me of work I had done back in the day, and so many of them were great”. Samantha’s passion for photography was inspired by the magazine National Geographic. While sitting in a class with some free time to kill she picked a nature mag from Nat Geo up and skimmed through it. Her first thought was “I can do this. I’m going to do this”. From there the rest was history, although originally Samantha planned only to follow photography as a hobby. Unlike some of the other judges Sam did not follow a traditional path to starting business. Complications with her previous job led to her decision to start a new business, turning her hobby into her livelihood. Today she takes breaks from her work taking pictures of weddings, babies, and families, to occasionally judge some of the best of what Mr. Hartman’s photo classes have to offer. Sam’s work can be seen on her Facebook Business page as well, the name of her company is ‘Depth of Light Photography”.

Ethan Miller “Running Errands”

So, the next time you’re in our Media Center, take a look at the works that these former Titans (and a Cadet) judged to be the best of the fall semester.






Official Ranking of Images in  the Media Center show:

  1. Alethia Gilreath
  2. Leon Alquati
  3. Leon Alquati
  4. Emily Shreiner
  5. Ethan Miller
  6. Chloe Ford
  7. Marelyn Morales
  8. Andrew Saponara
  9. Helena Cruz
  10. Ethan Miller
  11. Jesse Brady-Benzing
  12. Christopher Vasquez
  13. Christopher Vasquez
  14. Christopher Vasquez
  15. Kailey Raymond
  16. Emily Shreiner
  17. Elijah Hill-Gorham
  18. Christopher Vasquez
  19. Ebony Dobson
  20. Chloe Ford
  21. Brianna Hannan
  22. Katherine Ryan
  23. Andrew Saponara
  24. Leon Alquati
  25. Kyle Keo
  26. Kailey Raymond
  27. Katherine Ryan
  28. Emily Shreiner
  29. Michael Heister
  30. Marlee Myer
  31. Marlee Myer
  32. Anthony Davis
  33. Savion Maultsby
  34. Alethia Gilreath
  35. Katherine Ryan
  36. Helena Cruz
  37. Sean Lemere
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