Oakland County teen wins national portrait photo contest for teens

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

An Oakland County teen is the grand-prize winner of a national contest for portrait photos and will have his picture displayed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Otto Grunewald of Rochester won the 13-15-year-old age category of the museum's Teen Portrait Competition. His black-and-white portrait, called "Trapped," shows him looking straight into the camera with gauze around his head. Grunewald has generalized epilepsy disorder and uses photography to communicate about the challenges he faces.

The contest is inspired by the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Otto Graunewald's portrait is titled "Trapped."

"The Teen Portrait Competition allows the National Portrait Gallery to engage with budding artists, providing teens a platform to share with the world their ideas about the genre of portraiture,” said Leslie Ureña, the gallery's curator of photographs, in a press release. “As with the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, the submissions provided a glimpse of our recent history. It was truly wonderful to see how teens are engaging with the world, and using portraiture to explore the themes that are affecting their lives and that of those around them."

Grunewald beat out roughly 300 entries from 22 states across the country. Sara Sonnenblic of Florida was the grand-prize winner for the 16-17-years-old age category with a portrait titled “Nor This Nor That," depicting a young man in a pink robe.

Grunewald's and Sonnenblic's portraits will be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery July 29 through Feb. 26. They'll be located near "The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today" exhibition.