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Lathrop Boys & Girls photo contest tonight

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Lathrop Boys & Girls photo contest tonight

One of the entries in tonight's photo contest.

Photo contributed/

POSTED March 25, 2010 2:20 a.m.

LATHROP – A black bird captured in flight against a blinding bright sky. A close-up study of casual footwear worn by a trio of young children. A dramatic view of a mature tree with full foliage from the ground up.

These are just three of the more than two-dozen color photographs entered in the first ever photo contest and show held at the Lathrop Boys and Girls Club. Judging will be held tonight starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by a show that will be open to the public. The event will be held in the library of Lathrop Elementary School on Fifth Street at the corner of Thomsen in the city’s historic Old Town district.

The prize for the overall winner will be a digital camera, with the second and third prize winners receiving ribbons and certificates of appreciation, said Mark McCool, Lathrop Boys and Girls Club site director.

This contest is part of the annual national Boys and Girls Club’s Image Makers Photography Contest, McCool explained. The winners in the different categories will go on to the regional level. From there, the winners “will keep going up to the national (level of the competition) in the Boys and Girls Club of America chain and, hopefully, will eventually hang in the White House,” he said.

The photography contest “provides aspiring photographers with a chance to express their creativity by taking and developing their own pictures,” according to the club’s national web site. The contest, which aims to “help members uncover their artistic talents and explore related career opportunities,” was launched in 1960.

The contest offers five artistic categories, but McCool said the Lathrop members will compete only in the digital color category this time.

There are three age divisions in the Lathrop contest: 6 to 9, 10 to 12, and 13 to 15. McCool said they don’t have any category in the 16-18 age division. “Our site here in Lathrop doesn’t tend to attract teens because we have a small program” in a portable building on campus, he said.

He did not have the names of the three judges but said they are “local artists, art teachers or fine arts teachers” in the Lathrop and Manteca area.

McCool said he is hoping the students’ parents and the community will come to view the students’ photographs which will be displayed in the school library. Light refreshments will be served.

The photography contest and show started with “a little photography class to teach them the basics of photography,” McCool said.

Since the students did not have their own cameras, McCool allowed them to use his own Canon Rebel. Their photo safari was done “one on one around the campus,” with the students coming up with their own subject ideas.

“So they were able to use a really nice camera,” McCool said.

The photographic safari was a one-on-one instruction “so they can have the time to really learn what to look for, spend the time how to shoot and how to take care of (the camera) because they need to learn that, too,” he added.

McCool then printed the students’ pictures using his own printer at home and using his own photographic paper.

“I basically donated (the paper and ink) with what I have,” said McCool who is an avid amateur photographer himself.

“We started the (photo contest) program really late, but we’ll try to start early next year and try to find underwriters for some of the costs. This year, I just donated my home printer,” said McCool who plans to have this contest as an annual event from now on.

Thirteen of the 250 to 300 Lathrop Boys and Girls Club members are participating in the contest this time. The youngest is nine years old, and the oldest is 15.

The students did not just get involved in the shooting of the photographs. They also helped in cropping the pictures and matting them for tonight’s show and display.

“It should be a pretty decent show, for a first year. I’m really excited about it. Hopefully, the parents will be here tonight to enjoy the refreshments and show off their children’s pictures,” McCool said.

While the contest and display will be held in the Lathrop School library, the Boys and Girls program is held in one of the portables on campus. The site is open Monday to Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. for the duration of the 10-month school year.

For more information about tonight’s photography show, call the Lathrop School at 858-7250 ext. 55648.

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