Pretoria - Three Centurion students have reached the finals of an international photography competition in the UK.
Janelle Chetty, 15, Seth Cusak, 14, and Dominique Grayling, 14, beat the odds - and a lot of other students, to reach the final of the UK Down’s Syndrome Association’s ‘My Perspective’ photography competition.
The competition which gives budding photographers who have the genetic condition a chance to show off their talents to industry professionals, shortlisted the three youngsters.
Janelle was delighted at being shortlisted: “I feel very excited, happy”.
Talking about her photograph ‘The Ball’, she said: “I was being taught composition and this photo was taken. It is unedited. I like taking photos so I can always look at them over and over again.”
She said it was like a memory in a picture. “Photography helps to capture what I feel and to explore different things.”
Janelle is inspired by pictures and colours, and when not taking photos, enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and dancing.
Seth’s photograph is called ‘My Friend Dominique’, and, he said: “We were taking pictures of bubbles at photo club, and I took this one.”
He said he was ‘excited’ to be shortlisted and added: “I love having memories of my family and friends. When not taking photos I like to ride bikes, play with my dogs, be Chef Seth and play Roblox.”
With two photographs in the finals, Dominique said of one was titled ‘Baby1’ and taken at an impromptu baby shoot at school, while ‘My friend Janelle’, was taken during a photography coaching session.
“I took this picture of my friend Janelle and then edited the photo using MS Pictures,” the teenager said.
“I am ecstatic about the news. I absolutely love taking photographs. You see things and the world differently through the lens of a camera, everything becomes more real, every detail is highlighted, and it is a lot of fun,” Dominique said on reaching the shortlist.
She said she was inspired by her family, her friends, and the way God created everything. “ When not taking photographs I love to listen to music, I love dancing and I love going for walks in nature and playing with our three miniature schnauzers.”
The My Perspective competition is open to people who have Down's syndrome from across the world, and the local teens will join others from as far as India, Canada, and the USA.
This year was the first time the competition included a children’s category.
Janelle, Seth, Dominique, and 29 other finalists will be invited to attend a special ceremony in London on October 12, where the winners will be announced.
Their shortlisting is a move away from previous ones, where people with Down's syndrome were photographed as exhibits and the viewer was not supposed to see the person, just the difference.
This competition aims to turn the camera around and give people with Down's Syndrome the chance to show the world their point of view.