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Irvine student’s work hangs in VP’s home

Irvine student Lily McBeath holds an example of her photography. She is one of 10 students nationwide to have her artwork displayed at the Vice President's residence this month.

Irvine student Lily McBeath holds an example of her photography. She is one of 10 students nationwide to have her artwork displayed at the Vice President’s residence this month.

(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Irvine student Lily McBeath said that when she started taking photos in the sixth grade, she never imagined one of them would end up in Vice President Joe Biden’s home.

“It’s an honor and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to become a better photographer without the feedback I was able to get through My Shots,” said Lily, now a sophomore at University High School in Irvine.

In 2013, she started uploading her photos onto National Geographic Kids’ My Shots, an online forum where photographers under the age of 18 can upload their work, with parental permission, and exchange feedback on each other’s art.

Under a collaboration between National Geographic Kids and second lady of the United States Jill Biden, 10 student photographers nationwide from My Shots were chosen to have their work showcased in the Biden residence this month.

Since July, the start of the student program, National Geographic Kids editors selected 10 students each month to have their work exhibited.

“December is a time that’s festive, so it’s really special for her to have her work up this month,” Lily’s mother Wendy McBeath said.

Lily’s photo on display at the Biden home features a view of her home’s Christmas tree and lights behind the tassels of a blanket.

“I wanted to capture this feeling of warmth and to make it look like the image was appearing behind a curtain,” the 15-year-old artist said. “Almost like you’re looking into someone’s home during the holidays.”

Lily has taken over 100 photos for her My Shots gallery.

The young artist is mainly self-taught, having only taken one photo course at the Irvine Fine Arts Center and a visual imagery class at University High School which she is currently enrolled in.

“She’s so fantastic and very serious about her photos,” said Hali Kessler, class Lily’s instructor. “Whenever she’s assigned something, she always creates a piece of work that’s a step above.”

Lily has already used her eye for design to help friends and family with interior design.

At age 11, Lily helped her school friend add new colors and designs to the walls of her room. And small tiles that the young artist painted in preschool are lined up along one of the kitchen walls of the McBeath home.

Her photo of ocean waves underneath a pier hangs in their dining room. It was taken during a family road trip to San Luis Obispo.

“It just makes our home a little more meaningful,” McBeath said. “Her different pieces will remind me of different ages and it’ll take me back to that time.”

The student’s design talents have also helped fuel her passion for architecture. After passing an architecture exam at Irvine Valley College, she also became certified in professional architectural software. She plans to study the field in college.

Lily’s photo and the works of nine other student artists will be up at the Biden residence through December.


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