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Lora Sparks tells stories through pixels

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By Becca Owsley

Lora Sparks spent much of her teenage years looking through the lens of a camera.

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The John Hardin High School senior has enjoyed arts all her life but her particular passion is photography.

She has developed her own photography business, used her talents for school and won awards for her photography.

Her favorite thing to photograph is nature and she takes pictures of a lot of bugs that many people may not notice.

One bug photo that won third place in the 2014 National Geographic Student Expeditions Photography Contest was found in Lithuania, her mother’s home country.

The family travels there every other year to visit family and visits to other European countries while they are there. This year Sparks will see Paris for the first time.

When she travels, Sparks spends a lot of time taking photos. Many times her parents are ready to move on and she’s still snapping photos of anything that catches her eye, she said.

To be a good photographer she said you have to have a good eye for things. While nature is what she notices most, New York City has been her favorite place to visit and photograph. It’s more of a metropolitan area than nature but everything about the city, culture, people and environment integrates the arts, she said.

She’s been able to have a business while in high school which has allowed her to network and use social media to spread news about her work. She’s done many senior pictures at school and the business is giving her experience in her field.

Her photography business happened by accident. She snapped photos of friends and through posting them on social media the word spread and she gained other clients.

At school, she uses her talents as a part of the yearbook staff.

John Hardin Principal Lynne Gibson said Sparks is a “special talent” and a student she calls a “go-to person.”

“If you need something done, Lora is the person to go to because she is beyond responsible and reliable,” Gibson said. “She has an incredible eye for detail as is evident in her photographs.”

Gibson said Sparks is one of the yearbook editors.

“She captures our students and John Hardin in a very unique and personal way,” she said.

Sparks hopes to attend Western Kentucky University after graduation to study photojournalism.

She knows photojournalism will be a change from her nature photography but is looking forward to telling a story in a different way.

Through photojournalism, she said she hopes to help someone tell a story and see their life in her photos.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Getting to know Lora Sparks:
Favorite book: “The Shining”
Pet: A cat named Tigger
Favorite photographer: Thomas Shahan
Hobbies: Writing, poetry, reading and painting
Favorite television show: “My So Called Life”
Place she wants to photograph: Egypt and Libya
Favorite movie: “Across the Universe”
Awards: 2014 Student Technology Leadership Program state finalist in photography, awards decided on April 22; National Geographic 2014 Student Expeditions Photography Contest, third place; Photographer’s Forum High School and College Photography Contest, honorable mention; 2014 General Federation of the Kentucky Women’s Club Student Arts Contest, second place; 2013 STLP state championship, first place; National Wildlife Federation’s 2013 Wildlife Photo Contest, youth finalist.

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