Abigail Choi triumphs in photography competition, reminds the community to social distance

Story by Georgia Parsons
Associate Feature Editor

Photo by Abigail Choi

SPHS sophomore Abigail Choi emphasized the importance of social distancing via art, winning an open-call photography contest on Tuesday, Jan. 12 with her piece “Social Distancing,” which was displayed on walls across the country. The competition was sponsored by Unshuttered, a J. Paul Getty Museum online platform for teens to share art, and nonprofit design lab Amplifier. 

Choi’s winning photograph depicted herself wearing a mask, with the words “Keep your distance to keep your loved ones” covering half of her face. The photograph was intended to emphasize the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.

“With how things are right now, people can’t easily see their family and friends. Although it is hard to be away from the people you care about, I want to remind people of the importance of staying safe right now and keeping those around us safe as well,” Choi said.

A panel of six judges selected 34 winning works from 1,500 submissions by students ages 13 to 19. The contest’s theme “In Pursuit Of ___.” inspired photographers to use images and words to address topics like climate change, immigration, access to education, and the coronavirus pandemic. 

The winning pieces were projected onto buildings nationwide starting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, in cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Anchorage, as well as on the social media platforms of both the J. Paul Getty Museum and Amplifier.

Choi expressed surprise upon learning that her photograph was selected as one of the winners.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it at first and when they sent me the photos of the projections; I didn’t know how to feel. I honestly am not very comfortable in front of the camera, but I submitted the photo of myself…. I never thought that it would get chosen. Everyone around me was shocked as well that the camera-shy girl whom no one had many pictures of had her face on the sides of buildings,” Choi said.

The winning works, including Choi’s, are available to view on the Amplifier website.

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