Catherine Gagulashvili copy editor
Junior Hudson Auerbach placed second in the Congressional Art Competition on Saturday, April 6. In addition to having his photograph displayed in Congressman Ted Lieu’s Los Angeles office, Auerbach won a $1500 scholarship.
Students from the art department annually enter work in the competition, a competition for the 33rd district in California. Lieu supports the event, encouraging high school students across the district to submit their two-dimensional artwork.
While waiting in the tunnel of the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the Rams versus Eagles football game, Auerbach was inspired to take a picture of the backlit group of people in front of him. Applying the elements he had learned in photography classes, Auerbach took the picture, knowing it would “make a great black and white photo.” Because the scene was backlit, photography teacher Tim Briggs was initially perplexed as to what the image was depicting; it was this factor of mystery that Briggs believes contributed to the photo’s success.
“It’s very striking, and when you see it, it grabs you. To me, it’s not immediately evident what it is. It looks like people being herded, but as you realize, when you see the stadium and the people in there, you realize they’re not being herded, they’re herding themselves. It almost has an ominous look to me, because it’s a backlit silhouette of people,” Briggs said. “Last year, the picture that won, the meaning was abstract, too. I think the interpretation is left a little bit to the viewer, and I think the judges liked that; I know I did!”
Auerbach initially received an email a week prior to the awards ceremony at the Wallis Annenberg on Saturday. He was notified he won an award but was not told what place. He was grateful to win at all, and he would have been happy with any place he would have received.
“I was really excited when I found out because there were over 170 applicants and I somehow got second [place]. I was very happy to get recognition for doing something I enjoy,” Auerbach said. “[This experience] has taught me that you’ll succeed as long as you like what you’re doing. You won’t get as far if you always try to achieve milestones that you don’t have a passion for.”