published Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Snapshots of life: Photos document a year in the life of a teenager

Taylor Stott's photo of her sleeve is meant to be confusing, says her teacher, Michele Belknap.
Taylor Stott's photo of her sleeve is meant to be confusing, says her teacher, Michele Belknap.
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    Among Taylor Stott's photographs on exhibit at the Landis Student Gallery at AVA on Frazier Avenue is the varsity cheerleading team at Red Bank High School.

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    Taylor Stott, a senior at Red Bank High School, is the featured student artist at the AVA gallery on Frazier Avenue, displaying some of her photographs.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

Seeing her life unfold through the lens of a Canon camera, 17-year-old Taylor Stott is realizing how quickly time passes.

At the beginning of the school year, Stott, a senior at Red Bank High School, was given an assignment by art teacher Michele Belknap to document her life via photographs. The visual diary of her day-to-day activities has led to an exhibit of her photos, "Focused on Taylor Stott," at The Landis Gallery on Frazier Avenue. The exhibit will run through Feb. 2.

"It has also allowed me to slow down to take a minute to see my life," Stott says. "It makes me realize how everything is moving so fast. By looking at my pictures, I'm learning to treasure more what's going on in my life."

Belknap describes Stott as "an awesome kid. I've never known anyone like her."

"She succeeds in everything from being an excellent student to cheerleader, volunteer and now a photojournalist," the teacher says. "She goes in so many directions but puts her heart into everything she does."

Stott's interest in photography was discovered by chance, however.

"I needed an art credit to graduate but, since I'm not good at painting, Ms. Belknap thought photography would be better," she says.

Lauren Goforth, education and exhibitions director at the Association for Visual Artists, which hosts the Landis Student Gallery as part of its gallery, says Stott's photographs offer an "honest and unique look at a year in the life of a high schooler."

"Her use of bold perspective and cropping techniques, however, elevate these photos of her everyday surroundings above a typical snapshot," Goforth adds.

From a photo of Stott pulling into the school parking lot at 6:58 a.m. on a rainy day to the view from being perched on top of a cheerleader pyramid to taking care of her sister's new puppy, Stott's photographs offers an in-depth look in the life of a busy teenager, Belknap says.

"Taylor could easily go to art school based on her photographs because they depict a story the same way art does," Belknap says. "It's cool to look at someone like her to see what they're doing through photographs."

Stott says she plans to pursue her newfound interest in photography. She'll be attending University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the fall and is considering taking photography classes.

"I've always liked to take pictures, but I had never done anything big like this before," she says.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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