The 2018-2019 Carolina Global Photography Competition held its awards ceremony for the winners Wednesday evening.
The competition has been held annually for the past 19 years, starting with fewer than 100 submissions and now reaching almost 900, said Ingrid Smith, manager of global events and exhibitions for UNC Global. Current students, faculty, staff and graduates are invited to enter.
This year, the competition awarded the overall top three submissions with prizes and a 20-by-30 print of their winning photograph, Smith said. Also recognized were three Chancellor’s Choice award winners, chosen by former Chancellor Carol Folt, and multiple FedEx Global Education Center and thematic spotlight award winners. Each submission included up to three photographs and had a global component, Smith said.
Mark Katz, Department of Music and Department of Communication professor, won second place in the competition for his photograph taken in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, while working with a cultural diplomacy program he co-directs called Next Level. This program sends U.S. hip-hop artists abroad to teach, perform and serve in communities around the world.
In his photograph, titled “Cultural Diplomacy through Hip-Hop,” he captured rapper and Next Level manager Mahogany Jones interacting with an Uzbekistani family.
“It tells a story,” Katz said. “What we see when Mahongany is shaking hands with this gentleman, we’re already seeing a microcosm of what our project is, which is to connect people of different cultures and to do it through hip-hop.”
Katz, an amateur photographer, encourages others to take pictures in order to see the world differently.
“It really affects — in a good way — the way I see the world and I walk around paying more attention to things, trying to pay more attention to my environment because I’m often thinking as a photographer what would be an interesting shot,” Katz said.
Senior Alex Kormann, a professional photographer and former Daily Tar Heel editor, won third place in the competition. He took his picture on a trip with the UNC School of Media and Journalism to Puerto Rico to document the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
His photograph, titled “We Are All Americans,” features a Vietnam War veteran named Félix, who expressed his disapproval of U.S. efforts to help restore Puerto Rico.
Kormann chose to submit the photograph not only for the visual contrast between Félix and the red door, but also because of the story behind Félix.
“The actual visual imagery, his pose as well as his story, I thought, were a really compelling mix that would fare well in the contest and get his story out to more people,” Kormann said.
Ryan Seguin won Chancellor’s Choice for his photograph entitled “Return of the Overnight Fleet.” This photo was taken in Senga Bay, Lake in Malawi, Malawi.
After completing a master’s of public health in health behavior at UNC, Seguin moved to Malawi to work as a research coordinator for the cancer program at the UNC Project-Malawi.
One morning, Seguin went to the lake to watch the local fishermen unload their catch. The shore was packed with people welcoming the fishers’ return, he said.
“It was evident that life in this village revolved almost entirely around the lake,” Seguin said in an email. “I sat there and watched mostly, taking in what is truly one of the most beautiful, bustling scenes I've ever witnessed, and then took some pictures so I would always remember it.”
Kormann advised that those who wish to be a photographer should figure out what story they want to tell.
“My passion in photography is capturing life as it happens, what some might call documentary photography,” Seguin said in an email. “I think most pictures that stand out to viewers are those that, in some way, represent the passion of the photographer.”
Other top winners included Raymond Tu, who won first place, and Giovanna Torrieri and Suzanne Niederland, who won Chancellor’s Choice awards.
All winning photographs are displayed in the Global FedEx center Jan. 19 through July 12, Smith said.