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Empowering Students through Photography | Sponsored

By Northwest Framing May 3, 2023

Sunrise on the Moon

This post is sponsored.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Seattle magazine.

The arts are an important part of youth and education. Art teaches us to look at the world beyond ourselves and at the beauty of everyday occurrences around us and within each other.

Started by high school photography instructors, the Washington State High School, Photography Competition (WSHSPC), believes all children should have the opportunity to speak their minds through photography and express their art.

“Art and photography celebrate the moments in life worth capturing,” Kelly Atkinson, Executive Director of WSHSPC said. “Students exposed to photography gain flexibility in their thinking, independence and improved communication skills.”

The competition was formed by a group of high school photography instructors in the mid-80’s as a way of elevating student photography. Early competitions included only a handful of high schools and a few hundred entries, but with passionate instructors and eager students, entries are now up to 4,000. The panel of three judges consist of working professionals from the imaging industry.

“It’s the largest event of its kind in the country,” Atkinson said. “We receive more entries than in private contests like National Geographic. It’s a huge confidence booster for a student to be recognized in a contest like this.”

In the 1990’s the event attracted sponsorship and public awareness due to exhibits at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), featured articles in the Seattle Times, and a segment on KING TV’s Evening Magazine and New Day programs.

Winners are recognized at the first through sixth place levels and finalist ribbons and select ribbons are also awarded. Nearly ten percent of the photos get recognized in some way, which gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“Since 2006, Northwest Framing has been an important in-kind contributor to our event by expertly matting and framing our traveling exhibit,” Atkinson shared. “They help us advance our mission and submit art at SAM, which allows students to see their art on display. At the end of the contest Northwest Framing helps us provide the pieces back to the students as a gift, which they display in their homes.”

From 1995 to 2001 Atkinson along with Steve Dodd, Northwest Framing CEO, and Sean Dulan, Northwest Framing Museum Quality Framing Tacoma shop manager were on the board of directors at Youth in Focus, which is how Northwest Framing got involved with supporting WSHSPC.  Northwest Framing donates their time and materials so the student photographs can be framed for exhibit.

“If Northwest Framing and Kenmore Camera had not stepped in, this wouldn’t be going on,” Atkinson said. “The amount of volunteer help is crucial.”

The majority of WSHSPC support is in-kind. Entries fees help give a little support, but WSHSPC is always looking for additional sponsorship. For more information contact Kelly Atkinson, Executive Director, at

To obtain more ideas and become familiar with the art of printing and framing, explore Frame Central or Museum Quality Framing, part of the Northwest Framing family. Trained designers are waiting to provide you with a free design consultation on custom and local handcrafted framing and professional digital printing


Photo Name: “Sunrise on the Moon”

Photo credit: Brennen Tse

About the photo: After driving three hours through the dark from Bryce Canyon in the badlands of central Utah, I was greeted by this beautiful sunrise. I am very proud of this photo.”









Photo Name: “Architecture”

Photo Credit: Aria Knutson

About the photo: “When I toured the University of British Columbia, I had no clue that I would be taking a photo that would win the architecture division in the Washington State Photography Contest. While I was walking around the campus, I noticed a set of red deck chairs sitting next to a fountain and immediately took notice. The light from the setting sun cast a beautiful shadow off of the red deck chairs and reflected off of the fountain’s water. This prompted me to take out my camera so I could capture the image.”




Photo Name: “Manipulation”

Photo Credit: Marcus Rodriguez

About the photo: “Through two seemingly simple pictures combined into one, I have realized that a good photo is waiting to be taken everywhere around us at every moment. This has opened me to a new world of creativity.”

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