Maybe it's a sign of natural talent. Or it could just be a stroke of luck.
Either way, a photo Reidland Middle School student Lauren Cadwell shot during her first day attending an after school photography club was accepted into Paducah Photo, one of the Yeiser Art Center's biggest annual exhibitions.
"I felt accomplished. I felt really good," Cadwell, 12, said during the show's opening reception Saturday.
Cadwell said she snapped the picture, titled "The Reflection," while her subject was preparing for a photo shoot at Reidland High School. She took several photos and eventually managed to catch him in a natural pose, silhouetted against a blue sky.
The photography club is part of FAST Academy, which uses grant funds to provide students with a variety of learning experiences. It offers subjects and activities such as embroidery, foreign languages and running, Program Director Jennifer Doom said.
This year marks the 39th for Paducah Photo, an international competition that also includes a regional category. Juror Mary Ann Redding, chairman of the Photography Department at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, selected 37 works - including "The Reflection" and another submission from the middle school's photography club - for the regional showcase. The regional selections are on display at Maiden Alley Cinema, 112 Maiden Alley.
Overall, the Yeiser received more than 300 entries from three countries and 19 states. Of those, 39 were accepted into the international showcase, bringing the total works in the exhibit to 76. The international exhibition hangs in the Yeiser Art Center, 200 Broadway.
The contest received fewer entries in 2014 than it has in previous years. Yeiser Executive Director Josh White said the Yeiser will revamp its online submission process in the hope of drawing more entries to next year's competition.
"We have plans to restructure the show entirely," he said.
The Yeiser awarded $2,500 in prize money, with $1,000 going to the first place winner in the international category. Awards also were given to second and third place winners and two honorable mentions in the international show, as well as first, second and third place winners and six honorable mentions in the regional show.
The show will be on display at both locations through July 26.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.