Graning receives honorable mention award

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thomas Graning, a ninth grade student at Charles Henderson High School, received an honorable mention award in the 2009 State Superintendent’s Visual Arts Exhibit Judging.

More than 400 student artists statewide entered the annual event designed to showcase the artistic talents of Alabama’s public school students.

In addition to the top three places, two honorable mention awards were presented in each category of competition.

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Graning competed in the ninth and tenth grade photography or computer-generated works category.

Pam Smith, CHHS art teacher, said she entered five pieces in the competition, four in the 11th and 12th grade division and one in the ninth and 10th grade division.

“It’s a real honor for Thomas to receive an honorable mention for his photography, especially as a ninth grader,” Smith said. “Thomas’ interest is in photography and he is becoming a good photographer. The photograph that I chose to enter was one that he had taken of a young relative blowing out the candles at her birthday party. The photograph was filled with emotion and was a very good photograph. I’m proud of Thomas and his accomplishment.”

Graning said the lighting and the emotion set the award-winning photograph apart from others he took at an impromptu birthday party.

“The lighting on her face was just right and she was laughing,” he said. “Being able to capture the emotion of that moment made the photograph so enjoyable and so good.”

Graning has dabbled in photography since he was four years old but only became serious about it as a hobby in November 2007.

“What interests me most about photography is that you can capture history forever,” he said.

“I enjoy taking all kinds of photographs. Right now, I take digital photographs. I’ve not had a lot of experience with film or black-and-white photographs. But I have an interest in restoring old cameras and might do more with black-and white photography.”

Graning works part-time as a photographer for The Messenger and enjoys taking sports and breaking news photographs.

“I like sports and breaking news because something is always happening,” he said.

“The hardest thing about photography is the timing and getting the photograph just right, perfectly exposed.”

What part photography will play in Graning’s future is uncertain but he’s sure that it will be a hobby, if not a career.

“My career interest would be more in the newspaper business but I would really like to run my own business,” he said.

The annual State Superintendent’s Visual Arts Exhibit was on display at the Alabama State Capitol through February.

State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton said he was pleased to offer this creative outlet for Alabama’s students.

“I always look forward to the exhibit and continue to be amazed at the artwork we see year after year,” he said. “The artists and their teachers are to be congratulated for their excellence.”