|By James Sanford|
Photographer Mikayla Spyker is only 10 years old, but shes already competing against professionals
On a Saturday afternoon at Perspective 2, studio owner Lynne Brown and photographer Mikayla Spyker are discussing light placement, aperture settings and shutter speeds while a model waits in the lobby, preparing for his shoot.
Tell me a little bit about what you want for your first shot, Brown asks.
A chair, Mikayla replies, as she surveys the scene. And funny hats.
The strap on the camera Mikayla will be using is much too long: The camera is dangling down below her waist. Adjustments must be made immediately.
Meanwhile, the model -- Mikaylas brother, Damon -- rolls around on the floor, digging oversized Legos out of a WALL*E backpack.
Mikayla is 10; Damon is 4. But this is not playtime. Mikayla, a fifth-grader in the North West Initiatives Literacy Through Photography program, is preparing to compete against adult amateur and professional photographers in the Perspective 2 Studio Photo Contest.
She was recommended for the competition by her instructor, Jeana-Dee Allen. Shes the most dedicated student, Allen said. Shes come to every single class, and she wants to learn anything and everything. If you ask her what is an abstract shot and what is a wide-angle picture, she can tell you.
You look at a kid and you can see the magic in there, and you need to feed that magic. So when Lynn said shed sponsor a student from the class in the competition, I instantly said, Mikayla.Although
its Mikaylas first time working in a studio, she shows no signs of
nervousness or tentativeness. As she surveys a rack of assorted outfits
and accessories, she immediately senses what will work. A cowboy hat. A
thick, Elvis-style white pleather belt with brass studs.
Shes kind of a natural, comments Jamie Miller, a North West Initiative volunteer whos helping out with the shoot.
the wintertime, I look for icicles, she said. When we started in the
fall, I took pictures of the different colored leaves.
He likes to make funny faces, and hes a good brother, Mikayla says of Damon. And he shows a lot of personality.
But when shes not thinking about framing, lighting and art direction, Mikayla
Damonnnn! Mikayla says, sharply. Im telling Mom!
Perspective 2 Studio Photo Contest
Open house noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 7, at Perspective 2, 319 E. Grand River, Lansing; winners announced at 2 p.m. (517) 853-5880 www.perspective2studio.com
To see some of Mikayla's work and shots of her working in the Perspective 2 studio, click here.