* 1st Place: Emma Ngo – Ambiguity

Artist: Emma Ngo
Title: Ambiguity
Grade: 12th grade
School: Campolindo High School
Teacher: Collette Sweeney

“Ambiguity” is a self-portrait meant to reflect the struggle of finding and accepting one’s identity. It was shot on a Nikon D3500 digital camera, and editing was done in Adobe photoshop and lightroom. With the prevalence of social media at the heart of our society, younger generations are forced to confront their own identities far earlier than previous generations. Growing up as an Asian-American, I have found myself unable to conform to the standards of Asian or American cultures, feeling disconnected from both my peers and my immigrant relatives. In order to portray this ambiguous state of being and the difficulties that come with it, I chose to photograph my reflection in a mirror covered with steam, taking care to allow only the image within handprint to be unobscured — as though I am uncovering my identity. The refraction of the light on the delicate water droplets creates almost a painterly quality, and while the photo looks completely blurry, upon closer inspection, it is in clear focus.