Nathan Hayes '19 Named 2019 YoungArts Finalist

Posted: December 3, 2018

Senior Nathan Hayes has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation as one of 710 YoungArts winners for 2019. The competition honors artists in grades 10-12 for their excellence in the visual, literary, design, and performing arts.

Applicants compete in one of ten disciplines, ranging from cinematic arts and classical music to theater and writing, and winners are identified within three levels: finalist, honorable mention, or merit. Award recipients are selected through a blind adjudication process which is conducted by an independent panel of accomplished artists. The 2019 winners represent the top 10 percent of applications received.

Nathan is one of ten finalists in the field of photography. Finalists from each of the disciplines are invited to participate in the 38th annual National YoungArts Week in January 2019, at which time they will have the opportunity to attend master classes and workshops with internationally-recognized leaders in their fields. This signature program fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and community while offering students the guidance needed to prepare them for the next stages of their artistic development. Finalists are further eligible for nomination to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors for high school seniors who exemplify artistic and academic excellence. ‚Äč

Nathan's passion and talent for photography is newfound. Photography 1 with Ms. Crockett and time on the Carillon (yearbook) photography staff as a sophomore started him on his path, which has progressed to encompass taking on the roles of photo editor for the 2017-2018 yearbook and editor-in-chief this year. Although most of Nathan's experience has been through yearbook, he is an independent learner—reading books, watching YouTube videos, and exploring the works of other photographers. "I've shot just under 80 events for the school. I think the best way of learning is through experimentation, and every chance you take to go out and shoot makes you better," he said. "And whenever I need more hands-on help, I go to Ms. Crockett. She's answered a lot of questions for me regarding how to execute certain techniques, and she's helped me learn how to proficiently use different types of gear and equipment."

Although Nathan was surprised by the award, he is excited by the opportunity—the master classes, the one-on-one interviews, and the chance to explain his beliefs as a photographer. "I'm more of an introvert, so what I like so much about photography is that it allows me to connect with others. I have been to places and experienced moments as a photographer that I would never experience as an individual. Photography allows me to see the humanity in others, which is why I love photographing people so much. When I put that camera up to my eye, and I press the shutter button, I capture a period of time that can never be relived. And when the timing's correct, you capture a moment of truth. For me, when I capture one of those moments, I feel a sense of connection between the people I'm photographing and myself. I feel this sense of empathy and in that moment, I can understand how the people in my photographs feel. This is what I love so much about photography, and to me, this is meaningful work. I believe that images have the power to create social change."

Nathan is planning to pursue photography after graduation. His goal—to attend college in either New York City or Los Angeles, which he describes as "cultural capitals for art in the US"—combined with the network provided through YoungArts, will open up new opportunities for this young artist, and in his words "in the infancy of being a photographer, this will be extremely valuable."

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