This year, out of Berkshire’s record 32 Scholastic Art Award winners, special recognition goes to Marco Wilson '21, whose photograph, "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 2," was selected as a Scholastic Art Awards National Gold Medal winner this spring. Out of 200,000 entries, less than 1% earned this distinction, and only eight students have received national accolades from the Scholastic Art Awards in the past 20 years.
Learn more about Wilson’s award-winning photograph and the inspiration behind it, in the Q & A below. To see a gallery of all the 2021 Scholastic Art Award winners, click here.
Q: What inspired you while capturing your gold medal-winning photograph?
A: I wouldn’t say there is one single inspiration behind my photograph, but I think my biggest inspiration that comes to mind is Mr. Banevicius. Throughout my last four years, Mr. Banevicius has taught me everything I know about photography, and without him, I would never have had the idea to even take the photo in the first place, and I really can’t thank him enough for always pushing me to not only be a better photographer, but to be a better person. As I worked on the photo last spring, Mr. Banevicus connected my photo to the famous painting James Whistler painted of his mother in 1871. And in many ways, my photo is a modern version of his painting which I think adds a lot of depth to my photo.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about photography?
A: I would have to say that the most rewarding aspect of taking photos is that each photo has a story and a memory behind it–each time I go through my old work the memory of taking the photo comes back. Whether it was back home in Saudi, driving around with my parents trying to find interesting things to shoot, or a photography field trip here at Berkshire, it brings back all those fond memories. I think my gold medal photo has perhaps the most interesting story behind it. I took the photo right as the world was shutting down in March of last year. My mom and I made it back on the last flight to Saudi before they closed borders, but instead of going straight home, we were forced to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. And it was in that hotel lobby where we were waiting one morning where I decided to take the photo.
Q: What is the biggest take-away from your art classes at Berkshire?
A: There are many things I am beyond grateful for that photography has given and taught me. But one lesson I’ve learned, and more specifically one lesson Mr. Banevicius has drilled into me over the last few years, is to never settle for “good enough.” I think this lesson stands out because it isn’t just applicable to photography, it applies to everything else in life. And throughout my short four years here I’ve carried that lesson into all my work, related to photography or not.