Featured Volunteer

Neil Pandit

Neil, age 14 and a Freshman in High School, has been volunteering as photographer and running our Instagram page for the last year.  He has helped double our followers on that site and has been using his photos for school and art projects.

We are thrilled to announce that Neil has won the Silver Key Award for one of his photographs, “Into the Barn” which is featured below!  The 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards award winners were selected from more 15,000 art entries submitted to the Massachusetts Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, where just over 50 judges had to make hard choices based on the 3 criteria of originality, technical skill, and personal vision.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have existed since 1923 and the contest affords students across the country the opportunity to be recognized for their talents.  Notable winners of these prestigious awards include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Redford.  Judges look for originality, technical skill, and development of a personal voice and/or vision.  At the regional level, students are selected  to receive the Gold Key, the Silver Key, or Honorable Mention.

What got you interested in photography?
I got interested in photography after seeing professional photographers take beautiful photos (with very long cameras) that exhibited many emotions and different perspectives.
How long have you been practicing photography?
I started in elementary school playing around with my father’s digital camera.  He constantly encouraged my curiosity, and then my art teacher gave me great advice on how to improve the quality of my photographs. 
 
What’s your favorite part about photography and how do you use this in your volunteer work with Strongwater?
My favorite part about photography, especially at Strongwater is showcasing the therapeutic environment provided by majestic horses and their loving caregivers.  I use my photography to publicize the mission of Strongwater. I have been actively posting my photos on Strongwater’s Instagram, and we have been  steadily gaining followers.
Any additional thoughts to add about your experience photographing Strongwater?

Everyone at Strongwater is so encouraging, and this has helped me try new techniques to photograph from different perspectives.  In the process, I have grown to appreciate horses and the therapeutic role they play in the lives of us humans. This has been, and continues to be, a great experience – one that I will hold near and dear to my heart.  

I should mention that I regularly post horse and other photos on my Facebook page.