Each year, the American Society of Media Photographers of New York sponsors an international photo contest.
This year, Elizabeth Beckham, an Amarillo College photography major, entered the student portion of the Image 14 contest. On Oct. 6, ASMP announced that Beckham had won first place in the student category.
“I don’t know anyone who’s won anything that big,” said Brenda Walsh, AC language, communication and fine arts adviser.
Beckham said she joined ASMP on the advice of one of her photography instructors, Brent Cavanaugh. Once a member, she began receiving promotional emails for upcoming events. When she saw the email for Image 14, which had an entry fee of only $15 for members, she decided to enter.
“You have to send out work if you want to get into anything,” Beckham said.
In 2007, Beckham became interested in dolls and ordered one online. Her doll arrived the same day she bought her first digital camera.
She said she always has had an artistic streak and always was in and out of different hobbies but that none really stuck. Photography is what stuck for her.
Beckham said dolls still are her favorite subject. She said she always practiced taking pictures but did not really hone her skills until coming to AC.
“My early efforts were pretty terrible, but I kept at it and learned how to use my camera, and my images improved,” she said. “I started in the photography program at AC, and that really took my photos to the next level.”
Walsh said Beckham even drove every day to Amarillo from out of town just to come to school.
Beckham graduated from AC but came back this year to take some of the new photography courses.
She offered words of encouragement for younger artists.
“If you have the desire and the creative drive to make art, then make it,” she said.
She said René West, an assistant professor of photography, has been her main inspiration.
“From day one, she never let me get too complacent or satisfied with my work and challenged me to improve in every class,” Beckham said.
She said she couldn’t have won the competition without West’s help.
“She is very talented, hardworking and dedicated,” West said.
“Her concepts are strong, and her images are beautifully composed.”
Walsh said Beckham is busy and driven as well as a dedicated student and a hard worker.
“She is always in the labs,” Walsh said, whether it’s working part-time or finishing projects.
“You can’t just do the minimum and be the best. That’s what shows in the arts.”