Winning photo earns Cape junior accolades

JoJo Zeitlin, a junior at Cape Elizabeth High School, recently won the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for Maine’s 1st District for her black-and-white photograph, entitled “Brian,” which will be on display at the U.S. Capitol for a year starting in June.

For the month of March her award-winning photo can be viewed at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree chose Zeitlin’s photograph because it “shows great composition and technique,” she said. “As an islander, I (also) love that the image is so distinctly rural, coastal Maine.”

Pingree added that Zeitlin’s piece “will really stand out and I’m proud that it will represent Maine’s 1st District when it is hung at the Capitol this June.  My congratulations to JoJo and all the top finishers of this year’s competition. Everyone’s work was truly exceptional.”

In addition to choosing Zeitlin as the top winner, Pingree also distinguished five other District 1 students, including an Honorable Mention for Cailtyn Duffy of Gorham High School.

Held each year the Congressional Art Competition takes one winning work from each district across the country, which are then hung in a special exhibit at the U.S. Capitol. All first-place winners earn the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., to participate in the opening ceremony.

All the Maine winners and runners-up, both from the 1st and 2nd districts, will be honored at a Blaine House reception in Augusta in May and are also offered scholarships from the Maine College of Art and the University of Maine at Orono.

This week Zeitlin told the Current that she’s been interested in photography for five years or so.

“I took my ‘Brian’ photo this past summer while taking a one-week workshop at Maine Media Workshops,” she said, “My workshop group stumbled upon a little farm while driving through Friendship and we decided to stop and take some pictures of Brian, his wife and their animals.”

Zeitlin said her winning photo was “mostly just a spur-of-the-moment shot that I captured. It wasn’t planned or thought-out too much, I just took it quickly while testing the light. It was not an assignment, it was just for fun.”

She called winning the Congressional competition “a huge honor” and said, “I was very surprised and happy when I found out.”

Zeitlin is also “very excited to go to Washington, D.C., to see my artwork. It is such a unique opportunity and I cannot wait to meet the other artists while I am there.”

This summer she will participate in a pre-college program at the Maine College of Art and she also hopes to minor in photography in college.

Outside of school Zeitlin is an aerial silks artist, contortionist and acrobat. Her favorite subjects in school include biology and English.

Her parents are Paula and Jamie Zeitlin. Her mother is a psychotherapist, and her dad is an internist. Zeitlin also has younger brother, Ari, who is 14.

The goal of the art competition, according to the program’s website, is to “recognize and encourage artistic talent in each congressional district.”

Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. To be eligible, students submit entries to their U.S. representative’s office, and panels of local judges select the winning entries.

Entries must be original in concept, design and execution.Last year’s District 1 winner was a self-portrait painting by Djordje Jevtic, an exchange student from Serbia who was studying at Scarborough High School.

JoJo Zeitlin, from Cape Elizabeth, won the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for Maine’s 1st District with this black-and-white photograph, entitled “Brian.”