Student Artist Simone Salvo: Visual Arts

Simone Ava Salvo ’08 is this year’s High School Student Portfolio Winner for the Golden Light Awards, presented by the Maine Photographic Workshops. The Golden Light Awards is an international competition designed to recognize and support exceptional photographers across the globe. Winning portfolios are selected based upon outstanding personal vision, craftsmanship, and passion for photography. Salvo was selected as the award recipient from a pool of many high school photographers whose portfolios varied in genres and objectives. Salvo said, “Many of my favorite photographers have won Golden Light Awards, and so as my study of photography furthered, I learned of these awards through research.” Salvo said that despite being initially intimidated by the prestige of the awards program, this year she submitted a portfolio consisting of twelve black and white gelatin silver prints. Salvo’s winning portfolio called “Tokens” is based on symbols, mementos, gestures, and remembrance. According to Salvo, she chose to use black and white photographs in Tokens because the range of tones allowed her to produce a classic and timeless appearance. A few weeks after submitting her entry, Salvo received a phone call announcing her award. Salvo said, “I am still in shock; even seeing my name and photographs on the website feels like a dream. I feel so lucky and privileged to have even been considered by this wonderful organization.” Salvo said, “A lot of my work contains feelings of nostalgia and imperfect beauty.” She added, “I like to capture moments which surpass the naked eye; to look deeper into my subject and establish a meaningful connection.” Salvo was introduced to photography at a young age. “My father, Dana Salvo, is a professional photographer so it’s always been a part of my life,” Salvo said. This fall, Salvo is off-campus at the Oxbow School in Napa, California. Oxbow is a one-semester boarding school focusing on visual arts and interdisciplinary academics. The 16-week semester at Oxbow is designed to combine art exploration with innovative and rigorous academic subjects. Salvo said, “Compositionally, I am a self taught photographer; ever since my first camera was put into my hands, it’s been a passion. It is an art form as well as a therapy; with a camera I feel completely free.” The Oxbow School was opened in 1999 with the mission of expanding each student’s critical thinking capabilities through intensive art studio practice. Salvo said, “This whole semester has been extremely refreshing, as the focus is completely on art, creativity and individuality. I can already feel a growth, both in me and in my work,” At the Oxbow School, Salvo is taking art classes that offer instruction in different types of media including painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. As well as taking these art courses, Salvo is enrolled in Environmental Science, English, and Art History. Salvo said, “Oxbow encourages use of the materials for our own portfolio, so I have been really taking advantage of the facilities and have been able to produce a huge body of independent work.” As part of her Golden Light Award, Salvo plans on attending classes at the Maine Photographic Workshop next summer. She has spent the past two summers on photographic studies in Thailand, where she expanded on her use of color photography. Although she is still contemplating different options after Andover, Salvo is confident that photography will always be part of her life. Salvo said, “Photography to me is a door opener; it allows me to meet people from around the world, to create stories and experiences, to make human connections and bridge cultures and lives.” Reflecting on the development process, Salvo said, “Printing my work is a time of reflection and personal growth. My darkroom is an oasis—a reservoir of beauty and creation.”