By Indiana Nash
NISKAYUNA — On the website Beca Piascik created to feature her photography,
she writes “Artists are a definitive breed of people who come from all walks
of life. … What is most compelling about this is that even though these people come
from very different walks of life, they still have the desire to visually communicate
through a common passion.”
For many teens, high school is a time to explore all their interests and become whatever
“definitive breed” they’d like to be.
During Piascik’s years at Niskayuna High School, she has done all she can to explore
and expand upon her passion for swimming and on her interest in photography.
Over the past few weeks, she has won a Scholastic Silver Key and two honorable
mentions for her photos, made the cut time for the Speedo Championship Series
and has modeled in a local Lord & Taylor fashion show.
“I’ve been swimming since I was about 3 years old,” said Piascik, and swimming
competitively since she fi rst was able to a few years ago. “It’s something that I always
want to be a part of my life,” she said. She currently travels two hours several days a
week to practice for the various meets she’s competing in. “The travel is hard, I’ve been
trying to use the time to catch up on a bit of sleep whenever my mom is able to drive
me,” she said with a smile. Piascik is always grateful for the support of her mother,
father, and older brother, Mike, during competitions and throughout training.
In the fall, Piascik plans on going to School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She’ll also be able to compete on the swim team at nearby Tufts University
— the two colleges have an affiliation.
“Photography is what I’m most passionate about,” said Piascik. And it shows.
Since she first began taking photography classes during her freshman year, she discovered she had a knack for it. Last year, she won a gold key in the Scholastic Key
Awards for one of her pieces. “After I won that, I started thinking that maybe I really could do something with this,” said Piascik. Currently, she is taking her second year of advanced photography and acts as the gallery manager at the Niskayuna High Art Gallery.
This past week she was also given an honorable mention in the PDNedu photo
contest, for her photo entitled “Lost Things.” It was taken a decade after Hurricane
Katrina in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and features various items that
left in St. Roch’s Cemetery as symbols of the miracles they’d witnessed.
“During my time there [in New Orleans], almost 10 years after the storm, the
remnants of the damage done were still incredibly visible like deep scars carried
by the victims and residents. … Our lives are not defi ned by what we hold dear in
the present but also by the sentimental possessions we held dear in the past … In
a way, we define ourselves by the items we use and the value they have to us,”
Piascik said of “Lost Things.”
Recently, Piascik was placed on the opposite side of the camera. “My neighbor
told me about this fashion show that Lord & Taylor was having and then they ended up
inviting me to model in it,” she said. There were 15 other high-schoolers from across the area asked to participate in the show. Some of them were fellow students from Niskayuna and others from neighboring schools.
“It was very weird for me, I definitely prefer taking the photographs to being in them,”
Piascik said of being on the other side of the camera. “But it was still pretty fun!”