LEGOS, landscapes, lights lead to accolades for Juneau students

Awards show honors late Thunder Mountain arts teacher

Most of the award winners at Juneau’s fifth annual iDida Photography and Video Contest were honored for one photo. Hunter Greene was honored for 1,900 of them.


Greene, a 10th grader at Thunder Mountain High School, earned first place for a stop-action video he made. To make the four-minute video, he took more than 1,900 photos of LEGOs in various positions and spliced them together, making a music video with LEGO characters.

“I thought it was great,” Greene said, “because I actually got to join a competition that had this kind of stuff. I’m just happy to join it.”

Greene was one of four first-place winners announced at Wednesday night’s awards ceremony at TMHS. The other three categories were all about photos: Digitally Enhanced Photo, “Life in Alaska,” and “Tell Me a Story.”

TMHS senior Annika Pearson won in the Digitally Enhanced Photo category, the second year in a row in which she’s won first at the ceremony. Pearson’s photo was a long exposure of her sister spinning a string of lights in front of her. The spinning motion of the lights made for circles of white in front of Pearson’s sister’s face.

TMHS junior Jasz Garrett won first place in the “Life in Alaska” category, with a photo of a snowy sunset scene reflected on the water. Juneau-Douglas High School freshman Ajah Bishop finished first in the “Tell Me a Story” category, taking a photo of a clock in a garden. Bishop wasn’t at the awards ceremony, so the full story remained untold.

Greene said he’s been making stop-motion videos since he was in elementary school, and he submitted multiple entries to the Juneau competition. Entries in this contest were also submitted in the statewide iDida Awards, TMHS teacher Janna Lelchuk said, which will take place in Anchorage in February.

Pearson, whose portrait of her grandfather won her a first-place award last year, said she isn’t sure if she wants to pursue photography as a career but definitely wants it to continue to be part of her life.

“I really enjoy capturing people’s emotions as best as I can,” Pearson said.

The award show is held every year in honor of late TMHS art teacher Jan Neimeyer. The awards ceremony began with a slideshow of Neimeyer’s photographs over the years, in her classrooms and in nature.

Neimeyer’s husband Roger Healy and Lelchuk both said a photo contest is the perfect way to honor Neimeyer’s memory. Neimeyer, who died in 2013, was always encouraging her colleagues to get a local award contest going to match the statewide iDida contest.

Healy handed each award to the winners, and spoke to them as a whole prior to the ceremony.

“I know she would appreciate all of your efforts to think of creativity when you’re taking pictures or shooting videos,” Healy said, “or to look at the world in a different light.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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