In this contest we invite teenagers — anyone 13 to 19 years old, from anywhere in the world — to take photographs that depict some aspect of teenage life that you think may be misunderstood, ignored or largely unknown, and, in a short artist’s statement, tell us why. We hope to be able to use some of the winning work in the print Learning section that will come out in early November.
We have a media-literacy-focused lesson plan that can help, and which is full of links to inspiring photographs and photo essays by and about teenagers that can serve as models. (See Part IV.) The lesson plan also has a whole list of questions that might help you hone your subject. (See Part III.) And for even more inspiration, you can watch the video at the top of this post, about how three talented young photographers document their worlds.
Contest Rules and Guidelines
1. Any teenager anywhere in the world can participate. For this contest, we do not allow students to work in teams.
2. Each student can send in one submission, and each submission can include up to three photos, plus a short artist’s statement (350 words) about the work.
3. If you send in more than one image, they can be a related series, or they can each stand alone. Your artist’s statement must include them all, however, as you respond to our prompt (“Tell us about your images and how they depict some aspect of teenage life that you think may be misunderstood, ignored or largely unknown by adults and/or the media. How might your images help give a more interesting, nuanced, complete or real view of your generation than typically portrayed?”)
4. We are equally interested in your statement and your images, and in the ways they work together, as our rubric shows. You do not have to be an experienced photographer to participate in this contest since technical excellence is just a part of how we will judge your work. We are chiefly concerned with the ideas and insights you offer about teenagers today.
5. What you choose to depict can be negative, positive or neutral. It can be specific only to a very particular group or type of teenager (like your friends, or a team you’re on, or a club you’re in), or it can show something you’ve noticed about people your age in general. It can focus on an aspect of everyday life that you think deserves more notice or a different point of view, or it can depict something special, like a holiday or event. We just want you to show us your world, as you see it. The list of questions we pose in Part III of this lesson plan might help you think about the ideas that interest you most.
6. Keep in mind, however, that the work you send in should be appropriate for a Times audience.
7. Photographs can be made on any kind of camera, although if you are using a cellphone camera please do not use filter effects. Please keep digital manipulation and postprocessing to a minimum in general. (That is, you may use editing software for minor corrections such as one might make in a darkroom — cropping, adjusting brightness, balancing colors, etc. — but please do not alter the reality of the photo in any way.)
8. Submissions should be in jpeg files between one and five megabytes.
9. Your work will be judged by professional photojournalists and photo editors as well as The Learning Network staff.
10. What is the “prize”? Having your work published on The Learning Network and being eligible to be chosen to have your work published in print in the November 2018 Learning special section.
11. The children and stepchildren of New York Times employees, or teenagers who live in the same household as a Times employee, are not eligible to enter this contest.
12. Update: A class in Wisconsin poses two questions. We answer below, in italics.
More information here.