The nonprofit design lab Amplifier and the J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the winners of “In Pursuit of___”, a joint open call for photography from students ages 13-19.
In September 2020 Amplifier and Getty issued a joint open call for art from students ages 13-19 around the theme of “In Pursuit of___.” Selected from over 1,500 submissions from teenagers around the country, the 34 winning artworks were chosen for their thoughtful and creative responses, inspired by the famous Declaration of Independence phrase, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The prompt was an invitation to consider, inspire, and share social justice issues that matter to teens. It encouraged teens to reflect on their own lives, consider the state of the world, and inspire others through their unique artistic expressions
The panel of judges included artists Chip Thomas, Joanna Toruño, and Phil America; photographers Arlene Mejorado and Chuck Grant; curator Maceo Paisley; assistant curator in the Department of Photographs Mazie Harris, associate director for Collections Richard Rand, and exhibition liaison Tuyet Bach at the J. Paul Getty Museum; and Amplifier’s creative director Aaron Huey and executive director Cleo Barnett.
Hailing from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, the open call winners thoughtfully addressed themes of social tolerance, access to education, climate change, immigration, and endurance in the face of COVID-19.
“The J. Paul Getty Museum is proud to partner with Amplifier to assemble this impressive body of work from young people across the nation,” said Keishia Gu, head of education at the J. Paul Getty Museum. In a time of isolation and limitations, we are inspired by the passion and motivation of burgeoning photographers to explore a message of systematic change and opportunity, which highlights the Getty Unshuttered theme, “In Pursuit of____”.
Highlights of Winning Work
I Am Latinx
By Hannah Lorenzana
Growing up in the United States, I have been told I am not an American because I am a Latina. I have been confined to stereotypes and people have limited my potential. One of my biggest inspirations now is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She showed me, that when you step outside of what people say you can be, you can accomplish amazing things. Your voice can be heard. I am strong. I am powerful. I am an activist. I can vote. I am a Latinx American woman, and I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.
We Won’t Stop
By Kyle Trefny
Through editing, I imagined undoing the chain fence within this picture. The fence is a metaphor for the structures of oppression and degradation in our society. Young people have risen up to take on these systems. We won’t stop.
By Ava Terosky
How often do you walk past nature and neglect to recognize its importance to our own lives? Neglect the beauty that you can find in a forest or even a small patch of grass? My artwork encourages others to help save the environment. Our climate is changing and there are serious side effects. We need to appreciate nature for everything it is and focus on problems such as large companies who care more about money than Mother Earth. We need to create rules and regulations to stop these companies from ruining our home. The climate is changing. Why aren’t we?
Wasn’t It Pretty
By Kelty Keltner
Almost everyone has been to a national park and almost everyone has thought that those parks were beautiful, but soon there might not be anything. With global warming, pollution, and many other causes including COVID-19 the national parks might be permanently shut down. I chose the line “Wasn’t It Pretty” because someday, although I despise the thought, my children will look through my photos, and I will say those same words.
By Mishelle Trejo
I am in pursuit of a nation that recognizes the vital work of immigrants to build this country. My topic brings awareness to xenophobia and immigration detention centers. It’s important to me because I come from a family of immigrants and my great grandfather was a part of the Bracero program. Knowing my family has a history of being essential workers makes me proud and also mad when Trump says we’re rapists. I created this image by reviewing national archive images of the Bracero program.
Education For All
By Zoe Anderson
In “Education For All,” the elements of the photo and text amplify the message that education is an important part of our lives. In order to make the change we want to see in the world, we first need to discover and learn about the issue in our world or lives that we wish to act upon. This is why it is extremely important to enable everyone, no matter what their gender, race, skin color, or social background may be, to have the opportunity to receive a first-class education, opening the first step to a brighter tomorrow.
By Abigail Choi
In a time like this, keeping our distance is crucial to the health of the people around us. It is especially crucial for those living or in contact with high risk patients. Although some may miss seeing other people they must remember the risk of not social distancing.
Full list of winners
This partnership between Amplifier and the J. Paul Getty Museum expands upon a shared commitment to arts education. “In Pursuit of___” is the theme for the third iteration of the Getty’s award-winning Unshuttered photography program, which is a platform and community for teenagers to share and expand on their passion for photography and social justice advocacy.
To accompany the “In Pursuit of ___” open call, Amplifier created their first-ever informational “how-to,” a 30-minute video lesson plan created by Amplifier’s founder and creative director Aaron Huey that reached the more than one million students in its Education Amplifier network, as well as the Getty’s education networks.