PDNedu Student Photo Contest 2020 winners and finalists

The annual PDNedu Student Photo contest gives professional exposure to students currently enrolled in university/college, high school, or a certificate program. This year’s winners and honorable mentions will be published in the Spring 2020 issue of PDNedu – a publication that reaches over 50,000 educators and students. Images and multimedia will also be featured on PDN’s social accounts that boast over 500,000 followers.

Nikon is the main sponsor for the contest that awards the best student images across 7 categories: Fashion & Portraiture, Documentary, Still Life, Travel & Landscape, Fine Art & Personal Work, Multimedia & Video, and High School (Any Subject). Academy of Art student, and third-generation photographer Pratik Parulekar, won both the Grand Prize and Honorable Mention in the Still Life Category.

Grand Prize winners will receive the latest Nikon gear and lenses. Multimedia Grand Prize winner, Zuzanna Rabikowska, will also receive $1,500 cash. Other contests, plus conferences, can be viewed here.

Grand Prize, Documentary & Photojournalism: ‘Faith, Custom, Home’ by Arne Piepke

Artist Statement: Every year, from May to September, marksmen’s festivals are held in the Sauerland in Germany. The three-day festivals consist of Marches through villages, church processions, as well as dances and honors. The highlight of each festival is a shooting competition to determine the new annual King.

The origin of these marksmen’s clubs goes back to the civil defense in the Middle Ages and their motto, ‘for faith, custom and home,’ is still written on their flags today. With few exceptions, most of these clubs and brotherhoods have strict rules, do not allow women as members and represent conservative Christian values. The citizens of small villages in Germany have a strong sense of community and a deep attachment to their home, which is shaped mainly by cultivating this tradition and their regional customs.

Growing up in one of these small villages and visiting the local marksmen’s festivals from childhood on has led me to reflect on my personal experiences with this tradition. From 2015 on, I visited 31 festivals in order to use photography to question the contemporary exercise of the tradition and to examine the theatre like procedure of the fest.

Grand Prize, Fashion & Portraiture: ‘Untitled’ by Angel Chai Arviv

Artist Statement: I was born in 1989, in Pardes Hana in the north of Israel. Today I am based in Tel Aviv. I love it here; this place keeps me grounded. I’m into photography since early years and it’s been a long journey which started with taking simple sketches of everyday life and continued with fashion projects.

I’ve tried many genres – from documentary photography to product or travel photography. Finally I found myself in fashion photography where my passions for photographing ‘real people,’ and for storytelling and aesthetics, became the most inspiring combination. Today I am in the last year of my degree at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, and I aspire to be a professional photographer.

In my work I remember all the time that everyone is important, and everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. It doesn’t matter if the subject is a model or not, everyone wants to be remembered. When the subjects are looking at you in my photographs, I think you can see yourself in them.

Many times I find myself questioning photographic norms, whether or not it’s
acceptable to talk about the concept of masculinity in our time, and pushing boundaries. My work continues to document the perception of the human body as a machine of passion and sculpture in human matter.

Honorable Mention, Fashion & Portraiture: ‘Under the Veil’ by Ney Mila

Artist statement: Fashion photo shoots I created and directed in 2019.

Honorable Mention, Fashion & Portraiture: ‘Under the Veil’ by Ney Mila

Artist statement: Fashion photo shoots I created and directed in 2019.

Grand Prize, Fine Art & Personal Work: ‘#Metoo’ by Carol Record

Artist Statement: The #MeToo movement, which went viral in October 2017, prompted me to reexamine and reprocess my own personal history with sexual assault and harassment.

From 1996 to 1998, between the ages of 13 and 15, I was raped and manipulated by my stepfather, a man I had grown to love and trust like my own father. This series revisits family photographs from this time period, documenting my turbulent state of mind and expressing what I was unable to fully process in the moment. Through the addition and subtraction of various elements, the images reveal the extent of the trauma and begin to more accurately illustrate my life and psyche during this chaotic nightmare.

Working both digitally and physically allows me to create layers of separation and an emotional buffer between myself and the memories. Using the laptopogram process, family photos, legal documents and diary entries were scanned, digitally manipulated, and then exposed to silver gelatin paper via a laptop monitor in the darkroom. The resulting images were then developed and rescanned to create new images that could not have been made through digital means alone.

This workflow allows me to both mentally and physically process my thoughts, exorcising the demons from my past by physically channeling long-held feelings of anger, grief and frustration into the development of the image. The solitude and focus during the practice allow me to reflect upon this turbulent period of my life now that I am no longer inside it.

Honorable Mention, Fine Art & Personal Work: ‘Untangle’ by Sadie Cook

Artist Statement: I want to hold onto my body. I want to understand all its sides and parts. I’m just starting to understand how tangled up desire and photography and power and gender are. Figuring out how to negotiate this tangle, especially as a young, queer girl, feels urgent and exciting and frightening. I take pictures incessantly. I photograph the women around me and the act of touch and myself.

I think about language a lot. I want looking at my photographs to feel like when an acquaintance stops me on the street to say hi and ask how I am doing, and I take a deep breath and I say everything I?m really feeling and thinking with all the stammers and stutters and half-said sentences.

Grand Prize, High School (Any Subject): ‘Above the Rim’ by Losany Doumbouya

About this photo: From a teacher submitting on behalf of Losany Doumbouya, a junior at Ypsilanti Community High School: ‘This photo represents the stereotype that athletics, specifically basketball, are the only way for African American students to get ahead. The idea was Losany’s as well as the composition and camera settings, while his classmate, Jessie Jones, took the photo so Losany himself could be in it.’

Honorable Mention, High School (Any Subject): ‘BW Surf’ by Jack Bober

Artist Statement: My idea behind this series was to create a unique view of surf and waves. By making them black and white, it adds a certain mood that adds solitude and feeling to the ocean.

Grand Prize, Still Life: ‘How Many’ by Pratik Parulekar

Artist Statement: A photographic solution to a curious question.

Honorable Mention, Still Life: ‘Monochromatic Food’ by Pratik Parulekar

Artist Statement: A self-promotion project about Japanese food in the contexts of design, color and minimalism.

Grand Prize, Travel & Landscape: ‘Vacated Vacation’ by Itamar Dotan Katz

Artist Statement: Whether it was caused by the wave of terror attacks (2004), the Tahrir Square uprising (2011), or various economic considerations, this once-promising tourist area has turned into a graveyard of hotels. These enormous monuments have been abandoned and now stand as silent memorials to what might have been.

The South-side of the Sinai peninsula is beautiful, unlike any other landscape, as unique and as barren as Luke Skywalker’s home planet. Its dramatic red mountains tumble down into a turquoise ocean, which is filled with colorful aquatic life. Scattered on the beach are some very low-cost guest houses in the form of straw huts. Only a handful are occupied by those “brave” enough to visit Sinai.

The land itself is inhabited mostly by Bedouin tribes and the Egyptian army. But what looks like a heavenly resort area is almost completely deserted, filled only with traces of humans. Some of those resorts are in a fully operational state, with beds in the rooms and running water in the sink; others are in different stages of construction—but all are empty.

Over the past three years I have been documenting these resorts to show the wastefulness of men, the consequences of conflict and economy, and how present humans can be without being present at all. This is an ongoing project and the aim is to present it as a mock ‘travel guide to abandoned hotels.’

Honorable Mention, Travel & Landscape: ‘A Salted Land’ by Beihua Guo

Artist Statement: ‘A Salted Land’ explores the escalating environmental disasters triggered by human activities at the Salton Sea. Located in Southern California, the Salton Sea was accidentally created by engineering failures and was once a popular tourist destination. However, agricultural runoff and other pollutants resulted in fish and bird die-offs as well as rapidly increasing salinity, destroying homes and resorts.

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