NORTHGLENN - For any still photographer, the idea of having an image published by the New York Times might be an artistic accomplishment. Jacob Baca is getting that chance beating the odds and thousands of photographers from around the country.
"I love the feeling," Baca said. "It was awesome to know that my art was being recognized."
The junior from Northglenn High School submitted his work to a New York Times project entitled "My Hometown." The idea is to capture the spirit of Americana through the lens of a teenage photographer.
Fine Arts Teacher Andy Vartabedian challenged Baca and his other photography students.
"With the staff at the [New York] Times, I thought it would be a great way for their work to be seen by eyes that look at this kind of work all the time," Vartabedian said. "That is a very rare privilege."
Baca set out with his girlfriend, Nicole Axelson and a friend to see what images they could capture around Northglenn.
"We ended up passing the cemetery and I was like why don't we just go visit my mom," Axelson said.
Her mother was killed in a car accident 10 years ago.
"After we got in the car, we were about to leave and I kind of just walked around the car and took shot from the hood and kinda didn't really think anything about it," Baca said.
He captured some raw emotion that was selected as an Editor's Pick by the New York Times out of more than 5,000 images submitted from all over the United States.
"The kind of picture I took was very genuine," Baca said. "It showed a lot of feeling."
Axelson says she didn't mind having the picture published by the New York Times.
"It's just such a personal moment and I was okay with him sharing that because I've shared it with him," Axelson said.
Vartabedian is proud of his student.
"That's, I think, a challenging thing for high school students to work with is getting into photographs that really evoke emotion," Vartabedian said.
Baca says he just wants to celebrate his artistic talents in whatever he does.
"Even if it means inside of a classroom or to the New York Times which was really cool to me," Baca said. "I got to show my point of view, my neighborhood."
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)