The photo was judged by two local arts professionals, Sara Boylen and Andrew Hersh, as the best of 40 entries from 19 school districts, and it will be on display next to the other winning entries spanning the nation. This is the third year in a row a Shaker student has received top recognition in the competition. In 2011, Jennifer Chung took first place and in 2012, Erin Bryk was the first runner up. As the winner, Aragona received two plane tickets to tour the exhibit in D.C.
Aragona said his art teacher, Paul Aubin, had told him to submit the photo to the competition.
“I just feel like every now and then with students there’s an opportunity … students bump into something. He got very lucky with the shot that he has,” Aubin said. “That particular shot has a lot of merit.”
Both Aubin and Aragona said people continue to ask whether the shot is authentic, or how much photo enhancement work was done on the image. Aragona said he contemplated editing it a bit by changing the lighting, but said it would be make the “appearance a little weird” and would take away from “the awesome effect where it looks like a cityscape.”
“It’s very professional looking. I don’t question whether or not he did it … he had other shots that were similar,” Aubin said. “It’s just completely different than a lot of other photos that students have taken.”
Aragona said he’s very interested in art, but only started taking photos a couple of years ago after being inspired by a friend. He said he also loves to draw and drew a mural of himself on his bedroom wall.
While his award-winning photograph focuses on computer wires, Aragona said he prefers taking pictures outdoors and loves nature.