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Friday January 28th

Global Center features global photography, highlighting study abroad experience

Cuban boys use payphones March 10, 2017, in the Regla district of Havana, Cuba. By Veasey Conway '18 MA.
Buy Photos Cuban boys use payphones March 10, 2017, in the Regla district of Havana, Cuba. By Veasey Conway '18 MA.

Students can travel the world in the FedEx Global Education Center, thanks to the 2018 Carolina Global Photography Exhibition. 

The exhibit, which runs from Jan. 10 to July 20, features photographs from the 18th annual Carolina Global Photography Competition. The photographers are UNC students, alumni and faculty. Many of them are amateurs.

Katie Bowler Young, the director of global relations at UNC Global, said the photographs display the breadth of opportunities students, faculty and alumni have when going abroad. The photographs come from study abroad programs or international research and internships. The top placing photos feature refugee camps in Jordan and a phone booth in Cuba. 

“Carolina does a lot to share the cultures of the world and illustrate the experiences of the students, faculty and staff who travel there,” Young said. 

There were 800 entries in this year’s competition and 29 were chosen to be displayed in the Global Center. Those who select the photographs include student representatives, a competition planning committee, Center for Global Initiatives interns and faculty from departments such as Romance Studies and Art.

“What the judges are looking for varies, because each judge has different interests and passions,” said Ingrid Smith, UNC Global manager of events and exhibitions.

However, there are some clear criteria. Young said the photographers featured were held to high ethical standards and were chosen because they represented different cultures without exoticizing them. 

“There’s a photo taken by Rachel Holtzman, an alum of the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She takes a photo of a tradition of women and family gathering together who are going through a tradition, dukkah basnu, a 13-day process that follows death of a Hindu Nepali,” Young said. “It’s an image that ends up showing the connection between people and traditions without creating a sense of exotifying something.”

First-year Georgia Dietz enjoyed how relevant the photographs were. Her favorite photograph featured Captain America holding a sign that said, “Refugees Welcome.”

“(The photograph) makes a political statement in a relatable way because youth can connect to it through Marvel,” Dietz said. 

The photographs can be viewed throughout the Global Center, with the top winners visible in the atrium.

“I like how accessible it is to view the photos,” first-year McKenna Urbanski said. “I’m always in the lobby on the first floor waiting for the class, and the other day I noticed the exhibit. I saw a lot of other people wandering around and looking at the photos.” 

The photographs are also featured in a calendar put out by the Center for Global Initiatives, given out for free in the FedEx Global Center. 

The competition has evolved over the past 18 years, Smith said. She has seen more entries, and the judging process is almost entirely digital now. In the future, Smith said they want to expand the exhibit and have more photos.

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