A traffic jam of tourist-filled jeeps in a Tanzanian national park, coupled with the sighting of a pride of lions, produced a moment of reflection for St. Olaf College student Leigh Anne Hahn.
The scene was also an opportunity for her to take out her camera and snap the winning photo in this year’s ACM Off-Campus Study Photo Contest.
“We had just stumbled across over a hundred elephants, and a male and female lion walked directly in front of my jeep while we were surrounded by these herds,” Hahn recalled. “We drove a little further and found a lion pride, complete with tiny cubs. At first I was really irritated by the jeeps constantly driving by and disrupting my photos, and then I realized that I could incorporate them into the image with a new message. It made me reconsider our impact on the animals and the landscape.”
See the winning photos & comments from the students about their off-campus study experiences!
Her photo, titled Smile for the Tourists, was awarded the $350 cash prize for 1st place, topping a field of 76 entries submitted by students who participated in ACM study away programs in 2016. Hahn took the picture during a wildlife safari on the Tanzania: Ecology & Human Origins program.
Other photos awarded prizes by the contest judges captured a colorful scene of children marching in a Costa Rican Independence Day parade, a goat sharing its cliff-top perch with a student in Jordan, and a playful array of umbrellas suspended above shoppers in downtown San José, Costa Rica.
Similar to Hahn, Ryan Aiello from Lawrence University, who won 2nd place for Independence Day Parade, noted how his interest in taking photos enriched his experience in Costa Rica.
“It was because of my photography that I really felt motivated to go out and explore the beautiful country I was in,” he said. “Yet my photography also gave me the chance to analyze the culture I was in with a more detailed eye, something I never would have been motivated to do, at least to as much detail as I did.”
Karen Lynch from Knox College won 3rd place for A Goat, which captured a memorable encounter on a trip to the ancient city of Petra, and 4th place went to Lake Forest College student Fernando Figueroa, an enthusiastic photographer who took Avenida 4 during one of his frequent explorations of San José.
The Fans’ Choice Award, determined by the votes of visitors to the ACM Facebook page, was won by Thet Htut from Macalester College for Make Tacos Not War, which juxtaposed elements of two exhibits that caught his eye at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.
In selecting prize-winning photos, the panel of judges looked for creative, artistic, and thoughtfully-composed images that transcended a typical tourist shot and demonstrated engagement with local culture.
The winning photos and comments from the students about their pictures and off-campus study experiences are on the 2016-17 Photo Contest webpage. See all 76 entries in this year’s photo contest on the ACM Facebook page.