An exhibit showcasing finalists of the 2022-23 Carolina Global Photography Competition is now on display in the FedEx Global Education Center for the spring semester.
With images representing 30 countries, the exhibit reflects the Carolina community’s deep engagement with partners and communities around the world. The exhibition consists of photographs by undergraduate students, who make up three-quarters of the exhibition, as well as postgraduate students, staff and alumni. Carolina’s global photography competition has been an annual tradition for more than two decades, but this is the first exhibition since the start of the pandemic to feature new submissions.
A panel of Carolina students, faculty, staff and alumni judged nearly 300 submissions to select winning photos for first, second and third prizes. First-year student Zihan Liu won first place for “Old Man in Beijing.” The photo, taken in Beijing, China, shows a man in deep concentration leaning over a workbench with woodworking tools.
“It is not common to see a Beijinger still devoted to these traditional woodworks,” Liu wrote in his submission. “In such a fast-paced international city, I was grateful to discover a sense of peace.”
Senior Zheyu Huang won second place for “Under the Waterfall” and junior Julian Goldner won third place for “Dancer at Oruro Carnival”.
Carolina’s six area study centers selected spotlight photos for their respective regions.
- African Studies Center: “Rugs” by Emilie Hofele ’24
- Carolina Asia Center: “Vietnam, 2018” (rice field) by Phong Dinh ’18, ’22, (MHA)
- Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies: “Panjshanbe Market” by Matthew Pierro ’23
- Center for European Studies: “A ‘Street’ View of Venezia” by Cora Lubsen ’24
- Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies: “The Skies of Mohammad Al-Amin” by Shelby Koelz ’23
- Institute for the Study of the Americas: “Ixil Maya Ceremony of Blessing Their Native Corn Seeds” by Elva Bishop ’84 (MA)
Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs, selected “Heat Wave” by Laura Pratt, fellowship program coordinator of The Graduate School, as a spotlight for the office of the vice provost for global affairs.
Pratt took the photo while at the University of Tübingen in Germany as an organizer of the 2022 Royster Global Conference “Disruption, Digitization and Disinformation.” Tübingen is one of Carolina’s four strategic global partners.
In the photo, windows are open to create a cross breeze on a hot summer day, which inspired Pratt to reflect on the timing of the conference and its theme. “The irony of discussing misinformation and disinformation during a heat wave fueled by climate change (which some still consider “fake news”) was not lost on attendees,” Pratt wrote in the caption.
“This photo – of our German partners dealing with a heat wave, not by turning on the AC, but by opening every window – reminds me of the rich (and very open) conversations we had in Tübingen, where the coming winter without Russian oil and gas supplies was on everyone’s mind,” Stephenson said.
The competition received more submissions from the Curriculum in Global Studies than any other academic program, followed by the Hussman School of Media and Journalism and the political science department. The social sciences had the highest representation among academic disciplines, but STEM fields followed closely.
Some of this year’s submissions remind us of the impact of the pandemic.
Senior Preston Fore captured “Loving They We’ve Lost,” a shot of the National COVID Memorial Wall in London, which stretches more than 500 meters along the south bank of the River Thames. The wall is made up of more than 200,000 hand-painted hearts, one for every person who has died from COVID-19 in the UK.
Although the contest usually sees many photos from Australia, only two submissions were taken there, indicating pandemic-induced travel restrictions. Most of the photos submitted were taken in Europe, followed by Asia and Latin America.
Many of the photographs on display convey a sense of reflection or perspective, from window views to literal reflections in water, such as “Hygge Harbor” by John Ratkowiak, which depicts a peaceful reflection of buildings along a street in Copenhagen, Denmark , capture. “Chinatown Machine Shop” in Bangkok, Thailand by junior Andrew Lewis captures a juxtaposition between modernism and religious tradition.
The exhibition and competition is organized by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs. It is free, open to the public, and on display during the spring 2023 semester.