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Arts Student of the Week Ben Rauschkolb

Ben Rauschkolb has had an opportunity to contribute to Niwot High School (NHS) as an art student in a very special way. In his sophomore year, Rauschkolb had been taking photos of the school's athletics, clubs, and extracurricular activities for use in the Left Hand Valley Courier, as well as NHS's student run newspaper, The Green and Black, and the social media platforms of the individuals he photographs.

"As far back as I can remember," Rauschkolb said, "I have been the one playing on the courts, mats and fields--but being able to be intertwined with all of the same sports I used to play--as a photographer--has been quite special."

Being a photographer provides a unique opportunity for Rauschkolb to immerse himself in any sport, any event, and any community, happy to bring joy by capturing the things others love. And he owes a lot of the opportunities he has been given to his presence at NHS.

Joe Brown, Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at NHS, nominated Rauschkolb for Arts Student of the Month. "His work is not your traditional art style," Brown said, "but the pictures he takes and the graphics he puts together are just remarkable."

Through social media, Rauschkolb has been able to follow many outstanding photographers--too many for him to name a favorite. But he definitely regards the work of Ethan Dodge and Eli Millner as both consistently impressive and awe inspiring. "Their attention to clarity in their subjects sets them apart from other artists and their color is something else," Rauschkolb said.

When it comes to style, composition, or technique, Rauschkolb says that he has not intentionally based any of his art on the work of any other photographer. But he admits that Serena Archer, Colin Wong, and Matan Coll have all been very influential and have served as vital influences on the work he does today.

Rauschkolb loves playing tennis, rock climbing and listening to music. The more he has invested in photography, the more his photos have been focused on portraits and athletics. Currently his interests include the running culture and outdoor activities.

Fine detail, subtle vibrancy, and emotion are what Rauschkolb likes to strive for in his work. Although he must adhere to style guidelines when working for companies or clubs, he loves to capture emotion in athletes, with acute attention to detail.

"Ben has been invaluable to the Courier, providing great Niwot High sports and activity photos whenever we've asked," said Bruce Warren, managing editor of the paper.

His family members have encouraged and supported Rauschkolb's passion, and without that support he may have never gotten this far. "My younger sister Ellie has started to pick up videography over the past year or so and is quite gifted," he said. "Aside from that, no one in my family is too interested in the arts. However, my father Eric, my mother Kate, my brother Ethan and my sister have all been just absolutely amazing supporters and have been incredibly encouraging with all of my photography."

When selecting photos for publication, Rauschkolb carefully selects those that express intentional action, emotion, and definition. In the graphics he makes, he tries to frame the design around the subject. "Often," he says, "photographers focus on the big catch, the big takedown, or point, and I think what sets me apart is my focus on facial expressions, jerseys, sweat, exhaustion, and joy. This attention to what's not typically considered the 'golden shot' in sports I believe sets me apart."

Overall, Rauschkolb notes that his experience at NHS with respect to his photography has been exceptional. "Great support from coaches, staff, and athletes," Rauschkolb said. "I have been blessed with acceptance from all athletic programs at Niwot, and without my start here, I may have never gotten to where I am now with photography. "

Rauschkolb will be interning with the University of Utah football program in the fall, and plans to shift his focus from sports to the world of outdoor adventure, working in photography with outdoor apparel companies, or outdoor equipment companies. One day he would love to work with a company like Cotopaxi, Patagonia, or The North Face. But another interest, completely different from his current focus, is to open a café, "in my further out future," he observed.


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