Images of street vendors in Jordan, wildlife grazing on the Tanzanian savannah, a lesson on art restoration in Italy, and a political rally in Chile were awarded the top prizes in the 2014-15 ACM Off-Campus Study Photo Contest.
They were chosen from among a compelling array of 96 photos, taken by students in countries ranging from Nepal to Costa Rica to Vietnam, that were entered in the contest through the off-campus study offices at the ACM colleges.
The annual photo contest, now in its seventh year, highlights the importance that ACM colleges place on the diverse perspectives, intercultural understanding, and personal growth fostered by off-campus study, as well as the colleges’ 50 years of collaboration in offering consortial programs, both international and domestic.
The photos richly illustrate the multi-faceted nature of students’ off-campus study experiences — the people they meet and learn from, their explorations of daily life in different cultures, and the exciting possibility of new discoveries around every corner.
Along with a Grand Prize, the contest judges selected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place photos in the categories of People, Places, and Cross-Cultural Encounters and give Honorable Mention recognition to ten other entries. Judging in the contest favors photos, and their accompanying descriptions, that demonstrate cross-cultural engagement and learning as well as visual artistry.
The ACM Photo Contest encourages audience participation through the Facebook Fans’ Choice Awards, given out for the photos receiving the most “likes” on the ACM Facebook page, where all of the photos entered in the contest are displayed.
Mark Muniz’s photo titled “A Learning Moment” received the Grand Prize for its depiction of a slice of daily life in the neighborhood where Muniz lived in Jordan’s capital city of Amman. A senior at Knox College majoring in international relations, he participated in the ACM Jordan: Middle East & Arabic Language Studies program this past fall.
“These two young men make and sell sweets outside the bakery in my host family’s neighborhood in Amman,” Muniz wrote. “They are from Syria. They are there outside almost every day; sometimes the younger boy mans the stand all by himself. The older man is much more amiable than his demeanor in this picture would indicate.”
Muniz also received an Honorable Mention for his photo of the dramatic landscape at Wadi Rum, a protected area of desert wilderness in southern Jordan.
The top award in the Places category went to Julia Reich from Carleton College for “Wildebeest Parade,” showing an immense herd of the animals grazing in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania, where she was studying on a program focused on wildlife conservation and political ecology.
The workshop of a master restorer in Florence provided the backdrop for “Observant,” the photo taken by Niles George from Coe College which was awarded 1st Place for Cross-Cultural Encounters.
George was one of four students who studied traditional Florentine art restoration techniques in the Masters & Workshops course on the Florence: Arts, Humanities, & Culture program. His photo caught a moment during a hands-on demonstration for a student provided by Rossella Lari, one of the city’s most prominent art conservators.
An election day scene of a flag-waving crowd in Chile’s capital city was the subject of “The Politics of Memory” by Cole Frank from Carleton College, awarded 1st place for People.
In the photo, Socialist Party supporters were celebrating the election of their candidate as the nation’s president, four decades after the party’s founder and democratically-elected president Salvador Allende was ousted in a coup.
“While studying in Santiago, I came to appreciate how Chile’s tumultuous past continues to play an important and contested role in its present,” Frank wrote, reflecting on the significance of the event surrounding him when he took the photo. “The man on the right is holding a flag emblazoned with Allende’s picture and a quote from his final speech, which translates to: ‘History is ours and it is made by the people.'”
In “Love Is in the Air,” the most popular photo with the Facebook Fans, Suos snapped a balloon vendor, his brightly-colored merchandise trailing upward behind him as he worked a sun-drenched plaza in Krakow, Poland. The photo was also awarded 3rd place in the People category.
Budapest, Hungary, was the site for “Short Break,” Suos’ photo of a couple enjoying a view of the Danube River that was voted 2nd Place in the Fans’ Choice awards.
This is the second year that Suos, an accomplished photographer whose extensive portfolio includes images taken during his travels in more than 40 countries around the globe, has won several awards in the contest. Last year, his photos were awarded 1st Place for Cross-Cultural Encounters, 3rd Place for People, and swept the top three spots in the Facebook Fans’ Choice balloting. See his website (www.gvphotog.com) for more of his photos and information about his exhibits and awards.
Rounding out the top three Facebook Fans’ Choice winners was “Bridge of Sighs” by Anna Carpenter from Coe College. Her photo shows the last view of the outside world that prisoners in Venice, Italy got when being taken to their cells after sentencing.
“To me, this image represents my world prior to study abroad,” Carpenter noted. “My world had been small, consisting only of the familiar. Study abroad allowed me to have the opportunity to glimpse a larger world, if only for what feels like a moment. My sigh on the bridge was one of content.”
The 2014-15 Off-Campus Study Photo Contest webpage has links to all of the prize-winning, Honorable Mention, and Fans’ Choice photos.