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Sebastian Plaza

John Cooper School|Montgomery County, Tx
TEACHER: Jennifer Schiebel
2-D Art and Design
I ... take photos during the night in areas lit by small sources of light such as streetlights.
Exterior of building in green and red with two lig
Exits|13 x 19 in.
Material(s): Sony A7III. Adobe Photoshop 2021 and Lightroom Classic. Process(es): Shifted image to a greener tint. Darkened edges to lead the eye to the lit area and the center.


Student Headshot
Sebastian Plaza
To make this image I first decided to take the image on a high ISO and high aperture to have everything in focus and to add some grain and noise to the image. This was to increase the texture and create a more mysterious mood for the image.
I played with the hue and saturation in photoshop to create a greenish tone in the shadows and a red color for the highlights to have a complementary color scheme for the image. Then I cleaned up distractions such as light flares and paint chips to not distract the eye from the subject of the photo which are the exits.
This year I learned that art is not only something I do as a hobby alone, but something I can enjoy with my peers whether it be going on shoots, or critiquing each other’s art. Before, I would usually go on shooting sessions just by myself, but I discovered that going with my classmates and friends added much more excitement to the practice. It also helped me notice how others created photography which helped me evaluate my own shooting practices and adjust my workflow.

To develop original ideas while maintaining a unique look I would usually look for similarly lit spots. The thing about photography in the wild is that you can’t control the lighting. So, to counter this I would take photos during the night in areas lit by small sources of light such as streetlights.
This would help me get even lighting looks in my images. Then I could play around with them in post to add a twist and create an image I was pleased with.
My teacher Mrs. Schiebel was the greatest motivation I had throughout my senior year in photography. With the heavy workload from all my AP’s and college applications, she was very understanding and helpful by giving us flexible dates for our assignments. Personally, she would send me links to articles and lend me books that helped me improve and develop my photographic style. She was very engaging as well and helped me and my classmates improve our art skills as well as make us love the art form more.
My advice to other art and design students is to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. Try different shooting styles, color schemes, materials, etc. By doing this you will discover what you like best, and you will become a better and more experienced artist.
Jennifer Schiebel
Sebastian has a natural ability to envision the scene he wants to depict and then edit it in Photoshop and Lightroom Classic to create powerfully lit compositions. His AP Design Concept emerged from a photograph he took while on his family travels. What proved challenging for the school year was not seeing a lot of travel amid the Covid-19 lockdown. Seb reflected and adapted as the year progressed thru class discussions, written critiques, and his own critical thinking. All the AP students are continuously going through a cycle of research, planning, creating and experimenting, reflecting, critiquing, and revising. I have them write out 3 possible plans for their sustained investigation and after presenting to their peers there is a follow-up discussion with me, and 2 ideas are investigated further with the creation of images. Students start this early in the year and meet again to present the images they created; at which time more discussion and a final concept are decided.
The students are always reflecting and improving on their individual pieces. They are asked to shoot far more than the required number so they will have options, which is something I strive for in my advanced students and usually results in a wonderful Senior Showcase for the school community to see. Throughout the school year, my students are expected to maintain either a traditional or digital portfolio with their written thoughts on processes and imagery included, along with art criticisms that include teacher-directed photographers as well as contemporary student-driven artists. They gain further confidence in their visual vocabulary through a web application called Padlet, where they post weekly images and give feedback to each other. I think they appreciate that I do this with them and that they have the freedom to use cell phone photography. This is a way for me to help promote art creation wherever they are since they have their phones with them wherever they go.
Sebastian Plaza