Mamaroneck High School sophomore Piper Martz has stepped into the spotlight in the last few weeks as several of her photographs (see slideshow) have been selected to receive awards or exhibited in several New York venues.
" I absolutely love photography and I have learned so much at Mamaroneck High," said Martz. "My goal is to capture a little bit of magic in every shot. I'm hoping one day to become a professional photographer."
Martz began taking photographs at an early age, but she didn't take any classes until now. Her father, Jasun Martz, recalls that for five years his daughter submitted work to a photo contest at the Rye Arts Center and won every time. Now she's taking Photography One at the high school.
Martz, 15, who lives in Larchmont, learned a few months ago that one of the photos (No. 9) she took for her class would be exhibited at Pace University in Pleasantville as part of a show of student work from surrounding high schools (the show ran Feb. 4 - March 4). For this assignment, Martz got together a group of her friends, dressed them up in special wardrobe and props and took them to the Larchmont Reservoir.
At around the same time, one of Martz's photographs (No. 2) was selected out of more than 14,000 entries to be a finalist in Photography's Forum magazine's "30th Annual College Photography Contest." Also recently, the Mamaroneck High School course catalog featured one of Martz's images (No. 1) on its cover and the student was awarded a regional Gold Key at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her photography (165,000 students applied for this and she won this and last year). Finally, one of Martz's work was recently on view at the Mamaroneck Artists Guild. The show, "Artists on the Rise," featured work by more than 200 art students from Mamaroneck High School, New Rochelle High School and the French American School.
Gwynne Bettencourt, the head of the Photography Department at MHS and Martz's teacher, thinks the student is enthusiastic, creative and an inventive thinker, and "the combination of all those elements make her work very strong." If she continues down that path, she said, Martz will be successful as whatever type of photographer she decides to be.
Martz was just accepted into the New York State Summer School of the Arts, to which she initially submitted a portfolio for review. The month-long intensive program in the medium of photography will give Martz a chance to work in that medium for 10 hours a day and decide whether she will pursue this in the future or not, said Bettencourt.
To view some of Martz's work, view the photo slideshow to the right.