The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


Gradu-ART-ing: Reflections from Senior Artists

Lunar Ballet by Max S. ’24

As our senior artists spent their year amongst their canvases and dark photo rooms, the rest of the student body could only dream of what they were diligently toiling away at. That was, at least, until the tail end of April, when we finally started receiving a slew of emails inviting us to admire the products of the seniors’ art journeys at Lakeside. To gain more insight into their processes after having seen their fantastic work, I interviewed two of these talented artists: Max S. ’24 and Sophie B. ’24. 

Max S. ’24

What other projects or artists were you inspired by? 

For my senior show, I derived a lot of inspiration from Mike Chudley, a London-based street photographer. He tends to shoot photos “from-the-hip,” where he takes waist-level shots of passersby, allowing him to capture fleeting yet invaluable moments of the streets. There’s just something so intriguing and candid about photographs where you’re not actively directing people to pose for you, and so I tried to emulate that style in all of my photos with human subjects. 

Chudley also skillfully captures interactions between his subject and background — effectively creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts — a creative choice that I best exemplified in my shot of a Chinese ballet dancer. I feel that the intricate geometry of the dandelion sculptures in the background accentuate the dancer’s dramatic elegance. It’s easily my favorite photo from my senior show, and quite possibly my favorite piece I’ve ever done!

How long was your process? 

My senior show consists mostly of photos from this past school year, though a few are from the last two summers as well. I can’t quantify exactly how long my process was, but for each of my street photos, I would spend an entire afternoon — or even day — walking around finding intriguing compositions and subjects and would have up to one thousand raw shots by the end of it. After each photo session, I would filter out the best ones and edit the strongest 10-20 shots in Adobe Lightroom Classic. For some photos — including “Lunar Ballet” — I spent over three hours in the post-production phase! 

What were some challenges you ran into?

My biggest challenge when putting together my senior show was settling on a cohesive theme/topic. I wanted my senior show to be nuanced and specific, but I also wanted the freedom to include some of my all-time favorite work. After many discussions with Mr. Willis and reflecting on my personal relationship to photography, I eventually settled on “emergence” as the anchor for my senior show.

What were some specific stories or moments in the English elective Utopias/Dystopias that pushed you towards photography?

At the start of the semester, we read Ted Chiang’s short story, “Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling,” which explores Remem, a technology that records your entire life and allows you to replay memories from your own perspective. I realized that photography has a lot of parallels to Remem, as the camera enables me to document my experiences as I see them. In my case, whenever I’ve brought my DSLR on a local daytrip or family vacation, I get to challenge myself to seek out the uncommon aspects of otherwise common locations in the world around me. I seek out niche compositions — leading lines, shapes, colors, light/shadow — and eternalize those memories into photographs. In that way, photography has deepened my memories of the places around me.

We also read several short stories about extraterrestrial and artificial intelligence, and one characteristic of these nonhuman paradigms of intelligence is that of emergence: the process by which complex mechanisms arise from the interactions of basic parts. This concept drove my senior show, especially in “Eye of Lasers,” a long-exposure shot taken at the Laser Dome of the Pacific Science Center. What I thought was going to be merely a random formation of lines came together to create something stunning and recognizable: a human eye. 

Where are some dream places to go or events to attend that you want to photograph? 

I honestly don’t have many dream photo spots because there are already endless possibilities by simply roaming around local streets. But one day, I would love to do wildlife photography (lions, cheetahs, giraffes) at an African savanna during sunset.

Do your STEM interests intersect with your photography philosophy in any way?

Absolutely. I’m fascinated by the intersection of healthcare and technology, so I plan to do a bunch of stuff related to medical imaging and radiology in college. I feel like the act of piecing together the various clues in a radiograph to uncover pathologies has many parallels with the photography process, in which I might spend hours scrutinizing a single image and making careful adjustments to convey a compelling story.


Sophie B. ’24

What other projects or artists were you inspired by?

My project last year was really influential for me. Last year was pretty rough; painting a lot of my feelings was a creative outlet for my stress. Because of that, I really wanted to flip the script this year because I’m in a much better place. 

I was in Advanced Art 1 last year, and that’s just freeform – paint what you want type thing. I was doing mainly abstract stuff.

But Advanced Art 2, which is what I’m in this year, is more like you pick a theme, and then you follow that for everything you paint. This year, it was more like: I’m going to tie in symbolism to make myself happy. I was also following the theme that I chose from the beginning.


How long was your process? 

My senior showcase is all art that I’ve done this year. So it was from the very start of the year, all the way up until my senior showcase. 


What were some challenges that you faced during your process?

I had way too many ideas. So, I had to limit myself based on time commitment. I was dealing with college applications, which take up a lot of time. But I was coming into art a lot, and even then, I was like, “Okay, I have to figure out a logical time frame for my art, so that I’m getting through the ideas that I want to get through and not working on one piece forever.”


How did you realize that your youthful qualities will always be a part of you? Were there any experiences or people that influenced that?

I did this summer camp last summer, and it was pretty much a life changing experience for me. 

I realized that Lakeside is very much so a bubble. When you’re in the bubble for too long, you don’t realize that there’s an outside world with outside perspectives and people who feel very differently about education.

Being in that environment for like three weeks, I realized that I was so scared of getting older and breaking away from school because school has always been something that I have enjoyed more than anything. The idea that I’m slowly but surely getting less from school in terms of that carefreeness gets harder each year.

Being done with school K through 12 has been terrifying because I’ve associated it with the best times of my life. But, there’s things that I enjoy about myself like my passions, and when I geek out about certain things. I’m allowed to have those, and I don’t have to have them for the time being and then get rid of them when it’s time to get serious and get older, which is what I had thought.

Just kind of knowing that and knowing that I’m doing really good where I’m at really made me realize that I don’t have to fear getting older anymore.


Were any of your pieces inspired by your trip to French Polynesia?  

Yes. So, there was one piece that was actually for a French project.

We have to do this personal project that’s totally creative and free form. It has to incorporate something that we learned during our time in French Polynesia. So I created a woven 3D piece using shells.

My host mother is really into jewelry making and shells. She’s got a massive, massive shell collection that she would show us. And then my host sister is really fantastic at weaving. Ask anyone in the neighborhood.

So I tried to incorporate the weaving technique that she taught us to make the background of the painting. And then, on top of it, I looked up origami shells. I put all those together to make a piece which is supposed to replicate the necklace that my mom made for me out of shells.

It’s actually cohesive, weirdly, with my theme, and I thought that was cool. To connect it to my theme after the fact, I was very, very carefree and happy and childlike in French Polynesia. 


Which colors were your favorite to use, and why did you choose them specifically?

A friend pointed out that all my pieces had the same colors, and I totally didn’t realize that at the time. Those are just the kind of colors that reminded me of that feeling of youth.

The main thing that I was focusing on was using a lot of pink. I have had an interesting relationship with pink across my life.

I went to an all girls school growing up, and I totally felt like pink was super girly, and I wasn’t allowed to like pink because I didn’t want to be put under the category of “just a girl.” So blue has been my favorite color forever. 

And then in middle school,  I was drawing digitally a little bit and I was like, “Oh, pink is so much fun to work with.” It was like this secret – the most secret secret. 

I’ve grown to learn that, I can identify as a woman and dress however I want and still be a woman. I don’t have to be super pink, and people won’t see me otherwise. And I don’t have to be super blue and be tomboyish, you know? Since then I’ve realized that, well, I love working with pink. It is absolutely the best color to work with. It doesn’t define me, and it’s just a color, so, that was definitely a big maturing point in my life. I think it juxtaposes well to how I’ve grown into my youth.

I think that’s a good way of phrasing my art show. I’ve grown into my youth. 


Anything else to add?

I love to put like Easter eggs in everything that I do. So if anyone’s curious about the like symbolism behind each specific piece, I’d love to share.

Oh, the painting I did about New York. So this is my old neighborhood in New York. I very specifically did not look at Google Maps.

My parents have a lot of realistic paintings of our old neighborhood and our house. And I was like, I’d love to do something like that, but I’m going to absolutely not look at it until I do it.

So this is like totally from memory, and it’s very skewed. But I wanted it to be the way my memory preserved it because I haven’t been there in a while. 

I often say my elementary school experience was the best thing ever, and I love my elementary school, but I could never visit because it would destroy me if I went inside, and it was different than my memory palace.

That’s super comforting to me that I have that memory, and I don’t need to grow up and get rid of it. I can just be myself and  love what it is – or what it was. 

So the duck hourglass one. My first word was duck. And for a really long time, I wanted my first word to be my last word. And I still do! 

I could literally die at any time. And that’s also probably where my fear of time passing quickly has originated. Which is called chronophobia. I would go to bed every night, and I’d be like, “Good night, Mom. Duck.” And then I would go to bed.

I made an hourglass in reference to time. My original plan was to put clocks in every piece because clocks have been a big fear factor for me for a while. I thought this was a better representation of it because I wasn’t going to put clocks in every piece.

And so it represents time in that way. It also represents ducks and how that was like the beginning of my youth. And also the end in some sense because that’s when I realized that death was a thing.


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About the Contributor
Lael G. '25
Lael G. '25, Copy Editor
Lael is disillusioned.   Born May 29th, the universe stopped when Lael entered the world. Per her own recollection (which is “super sharp”), that day the sun shone brilliantly upon the Earth, babies stopped crying, depression was cured, and militants around the world were perplexed as their weapons began to melt into the ground.   Yet, nothing can last forever. For that moment of “Armistice Day all over again” was infinitesimal. Now, Lael spends her days tossing and turning, giving impassioned TED talks in her head, yearning to return the world to that state of bliss. Since elementary school at St. George -- “once a dragon, always a dragon” -- she’s been rallying the masses to her causes through her work in both the “state media apparatus” (the St. George gazette) and her own, underground student operation -- the deliciously subversive “Daily Whatever.”   In high school, her world-changing career in this field has only continued, whether she’s “Doing it for the Duwamish” in her club at school or in downtown Seattle, reporting in the field on student protests for gun control. “It hasn’t been easy,” she says, “I often think philosophically, about my own life and my place in it, and it’s a burden, the weight of it all, you know?” However, despite the heavy consequences of being an ethics bowl superstar, she gets by as Tatler’s faithful copy editor (with just a little help from GamePigeon and her pet cat, Juliet).

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