In photos, (f-stop) bullying

Teen’s photography earns national prize

Isolation  – One of the many impacts of bullying is the theme of this photograph, part of a winning series created by Sadie Shepard, 17, an HRVHS senior who recently took second place in the national Young Voices Aspire Awards competition created by Adobe (makers of Photoshop software.)

Sadie Shepard
Isolation – One of the many impacts of bullying is the theme of this photograph, part of a winning series created by Sadie Shepard, 17, an HRVHS senior who recently took second place in the national Young Voices Aspire Awards competition created by Adobe (makers of Photoshop software.)

Sadie Shepard is an artist. She, at just 17, has learned to value her different perspective on the world, and has learned to help others do the same.

Shepard’s emerging photographic talent has recently been recognized in two national competitions, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards — where she took a regional silver key for her photography portfolio — and through a second-place photo essay award at the national level in the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards.

The Adobe award allowed Shepard to direct a $10,000 donation to the charity of her choice, provide two new laptops to the Hood River Valley High School art department and install five Adobe Photoshop programs on HRV computers. For her direct use, she was given a brand new Flip video camera.

“I gave the donation to a summer camp I went to last year in Lincoln City. It’s called B’nai Brith,” said Shepard on her chance to help a cause she believes in. “I was also really happy to give the laptops to the art department. We really need more resources.”

Shepard is a student of HRVHS art teacher Amirra Malak. She is currently enrolled in Malak’s AP Studio Art course. Shepard’s evocative, winning photo essay for Adobe came about through a previous class assignment in which Shepard chose a “concentration” topic to work from.

Shepard chose the issue of bullying; an experience she was personally familiar with.

“My 11-year-old sister actually received bullying text messages from a 17-year-old. She was a strong person so it didn’t get to her really badly, but it could have,” she said.

“I started researching bullying and I wanted to do something about it,” said Shepard, who also personally confronted the female bully who targeted her sister. “The girl did apologize.”

Shepard went on to explore, through her photo essay, how intimidation now occurs in many forms — including physical threats, isolation and cyber attacks. Her photos capture the emotional depth of those attacks and the way in which finding help can turn things around – an experience she also knows about personally.

“I grew up a small town called Bellaire, Michigan. My freshman year of high school my family decided to move across the country to Hood River, Oregon. It was a really hard time for me, and I had trouble making friends and opening up,” said Shepard. It was her experiences in art class that helped her life improve.

“My sophomore year, I signed up for a ceramics class. Taking that class was the start of figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do when I was older. Art has helped me through the hardest part of my life.”

For her future, Shepard feels drawn to directing and photography. She feels that telling stories is very important.

However, her inner confidence is a fairly recent personal development.

She credits her art classes at the high school for helping her find herself and her future calling.

“When I first moved here halfway through my freshman year, I hated life. I didn’t want to do anything,” she said.

“It really was my artwork that helped me see a future. You know, people who are creative, create the world.”

To view Shepard’s entire photo series visit

With a wisdom and courage many adults would envy, Shepard now confidently sees the value of pursuing her dreams.

Based on her strong work, Shepard has received a generous scholarship offer from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is in several portfolio competitions to other schools, as well.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge


JustJinxed says...

תודה! We are very pleased with your work and hope that the universe will spark and guide you in your endeavors. It is truly inspiring to see how you enjoy and excel at your craft.

Posted 24 March 2013, 9:24 p.m. Suggest removal

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners