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Wootton High Artist

Emily Mount is a student at Wootton High School, 2100 Wootton Parkway, Rockville. Call 301-279-8550.

Who are your major influences?

The major influence in my life would have to be my family. My parents have always encouraged me to do whatever I want to do, and do it to the best of my ability. I have learned to put 100 percent into everything, which is how I’ve treated photography. It was something that I realized I loved to do, so now I’m going to Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall to study photojournalism. I’m really glad I decided to trust in my art and do this because I know I’ll be doing something I love to do, which isn’t something that a lot of kids can say about their futures right now.

Who are your major photography influences?

Well, of course since I was young I’ve loved the work of Ansel Adams, but of course that’s a token answer. Who doesn’t love his pictures of Yosemite? More recently I’ve become influenced by the work of the Dust Bowl photographers during the Depression era, namely Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. The way they photographed everything for what it was, the attention to detail seen in every photograph that came from that time period, and I love the way they captured the vernacular of the people.

When did you first get inspired to be a photographer? Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?

Growing up I did always want to be an artist, and I remember loving to take pictures when I was younger, even just with a disposable camera. I can remember one year for my five day 4-H camp I took 3 disposable cameras, and thought it still wouldn’t be enough. I don’t know that I ever really made a conscious decision to want to be a photographer, it was just something I loved to do, and I just developed into one naturally.

Is there a motif to your work? What is special about it?

Well this year I was in AP photography, so I had a concentration for half of that portfolio and it was Documentary style photography, influenced by Walker Evans. I love the way he saw that there was more interest in what was old than everything that was new, which is what I really fed off of in my own photography.

Where do you do most of your work?

I would have to say that with my concentration, college visits were a big help to find the more "rustic" things to be photographed. I didn’t always go out looking for photographs. For the image of the tree, it is off Muddy Branch, and I was on my way to the mall and said "Stop the car! I’m taking a picture of the tree!" to my friend. I got out of the car and ran to the tree because I was loosing light. I took a bunch of pictures, two of which ended up in my portfolio.

Any community influences in your photos?

My work with 4-H and Wootton have been major influences in my work. I have been entering my photos in the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair since middle school and the judges there really did help me to refine my photography. For example, the landscape photo was originally an 8 by 10, but after talking to the judge at a fair, he suggested trimming a few inches off of the sky because it gives the photo more interest and depth than a photo with the horizon in the center of the photograph. Wootton has also helped tons.

What do you listen to when you work? Is it reflected in the work you create?

Well, I usually don’t listen to music or anything when I work, simply because I don’t usually plan on taking pictures. I always have my camera with me and I like to just stumble upon the images I take. For example, the blue picture of NY was taken from a moving bus, the landscape was taken on a school trip to Costa Rica again, from a moving bus. I seem to have luck when I’m not looking for something to photograph.

Favorite medium (digital, black and white, color, etc.) to use and why?

My favorite medium would have to be digital. I love the instant gratification of seeing the image directly after I take it, and I love being able to take 20 pictures in two minutes, and not have to worry about running out of film. Number of frames would have to be my only real reason why I don’t prefer film.

What do you hope viewers get out of your work?

I don’t have a set message for every image; I just want people to see it for what it is. I’m not trying to make any sort of point in my work currently, and I like not trying to send a message. I want people to take it in for what it is and come away with their own conclusions.

Favorite art work (either own or someone else's): I like a lot of the artwork of the other AP photo kids; we really have fun showing each other our work, we feed off each other, learn from each other, and help each other.

How has Wootton helped you with your photography?

Wootton has definitely been a big help in my photography. From 1 one I have been encouraged to push my boundaries. When Ms. Daisley came to Wootton for my photo 2 year, she really showed all of us photo 2 students that we could be photographers, or learn to be. Wootton has provided me with a space to really develop myself as a person, not only in photography because the photo room has become a place where I can be myself and improve my work. I didn’t even know some of my work was good until I would show it to everyone in critique. I set high standards for myself. All the other AP Photo students and especially Ms. Daisley have helped me to get a real understanding of what makes certain photos art, which is what I believe makes the difference between someone who takes pictures and a photographer.

How do you feel about being in the festival of the arts at Wootton?

Well, I’m proud of being in the festival of the arts, but I’ve known I would be because from photo one, you know at least one of your works is going to be in the show. Now I’m very excited and proud to have a whole board of my work shown; each AP Photo student is given a full board to display his/her work.