Summit senior wins first place in international photo competition

Maya Mehlman displays a smartphone photo

Summit Country Day School senior Maya Mehlman displays a smartphone photo that earned her an international first prize in photography.

Senior Maya Mehlman, Clifton, traveled to England in person in March to pick up a global first place award in digital photography. 

Maya won first place in the “Smartphone” category for age 25 and under in the Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 contest sponsored by Photocrowd. Her entry was named the best among 821 people international works that were judged by professional judges. She also won a £100 euro cash prize. 

The “Smartphone” category accepted only photos taken with smartphones, but photographers were allowed to choose their own subject matter as long as they injected creativity into the work. Maya’s photo, entitled “Freckled Grace,” is a closeup profile of classmate Grace Kaegi, also a senior, during an Advanced Placement (AP) Photo Portfolio class at The Summit. She used her iPhone5s and edited the photo through the social media app “VSCO.” “Trying to enhance Grace’s freckles without distorting the truth of the image too much was a challenge when I was editing,” Maya said.  

Another work by Maya, called “Jellyfish,” took a 10th place in a peer review in the international competition. The jellyfish photo, taken with her smartphone at the National Maryland Aquarium, is a screenshot of a short video. Maya increased the vibrancy of the photo in the editing process. 

Maya’s winning photo was shown March 16-19 at the United Kingdom’s National Exhibition Center in Birmingham.  

Maya was one of four students chosen to represent The Summit at a summer program at SCAD in Savannah, GA. She designed this year’s senior sweatshirts and established the photography club. She is a member of the National Honor Society, four-sport athlete in volleyball, swimming, track and lacrosse and works as a hostess at Restaurant L. Maya will attend the University of Cincinnati this fall and is considering a business major, possibly related to restaurant management and marketing with photography. 

AP Photo Portfolio is one of 22 AP classes offered at The Summit.