Izabela Cuji has a great eye for photography. The Huntington High School sophomore recently snapped a photo that offers a hint at the awesome talent the teenager possesses.
“Photography is a beautiful form of art and I love being on the other side to capture it,” Ms. Cuji said. “My interest in photography was sparked due to my brother asking me to take his pictures 24/7. At first, I only knew how to use an iPhone camera, but recently I’m familiarizing myself with a DSLR.”
Huntington High School sophomore Izabela Cuji.
Huntington photography teacher Pamela Piffard-Williams gave Ms. Cuji’s class an assignment that required them to focus on the “rule of thirds,” which is defined as a “type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.”
Mr. Cuji and her brother, Angel, a Huntington High School alum himself, walked around Brooklyn and found their way to Maria Hernandez Park, a seven acre oasis in Bushwick sandwiched between Knickerbocker Avenue, Starr Street, Irving Avenue and Suydam Street. The spot had been known as Bushwick Park for nearly a century, but was renamed in honor of a local resident who helped rid the area of drug dealers.
“I really love portraits, especially side profile portraits, so I chose to photograph this,” Ms. Cuji said. “I love taking pictures of Angel because of his unique fashion sense.”
The teenager used a Canon EOS 7D for the photo shoot. “Out of all of my classes, photography has interested me the most this year,” Ms. Cuji said. “I’ve never worked with Photoshop before, so it’s really interesting learning the functions of each tool. Our assignments are always creative.”
The sophomore is a happy young lady. Before interscholastic athletics went on hiatus, she was hoping to try out for the Blue Devil tennis team. She hopes to play for Huntington in 2021.
“This year, Mrs. Piffard has been a great mentor in providing assistance for photography,” said Ms. Cuji about her teacher. “I’m currently in the Introduction to Photography class, so everything is a bit new to me. Mrs. Piffard’s class always offers a ton of room for creative freedom and expression. She offers great encouragement and support. It means a lot to me.”
The teenager has been close to Spanish teacher Jessica Mammone. “She was always there for me during the time that I was her student,” Ms. Cuji said. “Whether it was a personal problem or if I needed help in school, she would always go out of her way to support me. I miss her a lot and hope to hear from her again.”
After learning a thing or two as a freshman last year, Ms. Cuji has some good advice for incoming ninth graders. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” she said. “Just like any new year of school, you’ll slowly adjust and become comfortable with your classes and teachers. I think most kids are nervous about navigating their way through school, so it’s always useful to ask teachers questions.”
Since she is only a sophomore, it’s still too early for Ms. Cuji to have any college interests, but she knows she would like to go to an out-of-state school. She has been taking a variety of elective courses the past two years hoping to find “what’s most fitting for me,” she said.
As Ms. Cuji continues to grow in her photographic skills and knowledge, Mrs. Piffard is excited to see the art she produces during the coming months.
“Huntington High School offers a diverse range of courses that may interest you,” Ms. Cuji said. “From arts to business, they have it all. I really appreciate the freedom given to students in choosing their electives. The teachers are amazing and even through this difficult year, I’ve built strong relationships with some of my teachers.”