A community newspaper serving western Albemarle County

Rising Photography Star Jacob Chang-Rascle

By Clover Carroll

WAHS junior Jacob Chang-Rascle (Photo courtesy Chang-Rascle)

A Western Albemarle High School (WAHS) junior has won top awards in a southeastern regional art competition for the second year in a row. Jacob Chang-Rascle, 16, won two Gold Keys and a Silver Key in the Southeast Art Region-at-Large for the 2017 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards for his photographs Bloom and Misty Rocks. Chang-Rascle’s photographs now advance to the National Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. National winners will be announced Tuesday, March 14.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent. They are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens, and have fostered creativity and talent since 1923, featuring a notable list of alumni recipients including Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford and Andy Warhol. Through the awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships (www.artandwriting.org).

Last year, one of Chang-Rascle’s Gold Key winners, Hidden Colors, went on to win a National Silver Medal. He has also been chosen as a finalist in Photographer’s Forum magazine’s 2017 Best of College and High School Photography Contest for his phot depicting the Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up by fireworks from a side street with a crowd watching on Bastille Day, July 14, 2016—an especially poignant reminder of the terrorist attacks in Nice on the same day (pfmagazine.com).

Bastille Day, Photographer’s Forum finalist, by Jacob Chang-Rascle

Chang-Rascle got his first camera when he was seven years old and has been pursuing his love of photography ever since, with his first award coming in the 7th grade. He now uses a Canon T5I. As part of his independent study in film and photography at WAHS, Chang-Rascle is working with professional mentors John Grant www.johngrantstudios.com and Andrew Shurtleff, lead photographer for The Daily Progress. His internship with the Progress has resulted in several front-page photograph credits. Bloom—or as Chang-Rascle calls it, “the smoking flower”—was created in Grant’s studio, while Misty Rocks was taken while travelling in Brittany, France. His Silver Key winning photograph, Falling Star, was made with his friend Shane Matthews, using Matthews’ drone and a burning steel wool technique. Both students have been studying photography with WAHS Photography teacher Kim Powers since their freshman year.

Chang-Rascle is also a budding filmmaker, and is currently working on a film with mentor Eric Hurt. His 2015 film Incubus and 2016 film Override have been recognized by the Virginia Film Festival. He has films showing at both the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, and at William & Mary College in Williamsburg this month. He is receiving an Arthur C. Greene Rising Star Award from the Piedmont Council for the Arts March 3.

“What I enjoy most about photography is showing different perspectives, things you don’t normally see,” says Chang-Rascle. “I like to work with high speed, long exposures, and infrared at night.” Chang-Rascle’s future goals include going to film school and becoming a director of photography for films. But right now, he is saving for a trip to Iceland for his gap year, where he plans to shoot lots of photographs! You can learn more about this true rising star at www.jacobchangrascle.com.

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