When Shelby Hiatt entered six photos into the Photographer’s Forum Magazine contest last fall, she thought her best chance at a prize would be the shot of her levitating above the treetops, a photo taken with the aid of a trampoline, tripod and timer.
But it was a simple black-and-white photo of a girl with her hair blowing in the wind that caught the judges’ eyes.
“I was floored that I was selected as a finalist,” said Hiatt, a first-year student at the Blinn College – Bryan campus.
Hiatt’s photo was selected from more than 16,000 entries in the magazine’s College and High School Photography Contest. All finalists, honorable mentions and winners will be featured in the Photographer’s Forum “Winners Gallery” after Feb. 24.
“The wind blew and it was awesome and in-the-moment,” Hiatt said of her photo of an 8-year-old family friend on the beach in Padre Island. “To me, the photo is about innocence and childhood. She’s like my twin from the past. A little me.”
Hiatt was drawn to photography at a young age after discovering her mother’s camera. Once Hiatt’s grandfather learned of her passion, he equipped Hiatt with her own camera and lenses.
Though her foundation in photography is long-established, Hiatt said the photography courses she has taken at Blinn College have taught her more than she ever thought possible.
“I’ve compared photos from the beginning of last semester and the end,” she said. “Wow, it’s a big difference. I would recommend Blinn’s photography classes to anyone.”
Hiatt hopes to be part of the College’s newly-minted Photography Club between shifts at Brookshire Brothers grocery in Somerville and working toward her goal of transferring to Sam Houston State University, where she plans to major in photography and minor in business.
After graduating, Hiatt wants to turn her part-time photography business in to a full-time gig.
Tim Weaver, professor of Visual and Performing Arts and sponsor of the Photography Club, has no doubt Hiatt will succeed as a professional photographer.
“Shelby is rare. She’s so passionate about what she does,” Weaver said. “She’s the student I don’t have to assign work to because she’s always making it. It’s a testament to her desire to be creative. She’s really motivated—the best student one could want.”
More than 4,000 students are enrolled in Blinn’s Division of Visual & Performing Arts, which offers 51 courses, including architectural design, interior design, drawing, painting, ceramics, digital art, photography, watercolor, music theory, music appreciation, voice study, the Select Choral Ensemble, acting, argumentation, professional speaking and introductory speech.