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Carolina Global Photography Exhibition showcases students' international art

Student photography is being featured in the FedEx Global Center as part of an exhibition highlighting study abroad programs on Jan. 23, 2022.

The Carolina Global Photography Exhibition opened at the FedEx Global Education Center this month for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The exhibition showcases finalists from the Carolina Global Photography Competition and features photos from over 30 countries. 

The exhibition includes selections from the over 300 submitted photos taken by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni from the University. 

Katie Costanza, the associate director for strategy & impact in the Office of the Vice Provost of Global Affairs, said the photos selected show unique viewpoints from different countries. 

“We particularly are interested in images that embrace new perspectives, that have artistic merit and that maybe tell a story about an area of the world that isn't stereotypical,” she said.

The Carolina Global Photography Competition and its corresponding exhibition have been running for more than 20 years, Costanza said. 

The purpose of the exhibition, she said, is to highlight different ways the UNC community interacts with the world. 

“Our hope is that we're displaying the diversity of the world, of humanity and of all the different nuances of those stories and the human experience,” she said.

Costanza said that submissions from undergraduate students make up more than three-quarters of the exhibit. 

Julian Goldner, a junior who won third place for his piece called “Dancer at Oruro Carnival,” said that he took his photo in Bolivia at one of the biggest carnivals in the world. 

Goldner said that the energy of the crowd and dancers in the street at night inspired him to take the photo. 

“You could tell that all the dancers were just really enjoying themselves and really enjoying the atmosphere as well as everyone there,” he said.

Zheyu Huang, a senior who won second place for “Under the Waterfall,” said his photo was taken at the Goðafoss Waterfall during his trip to Iceland, when he saw people on horseback dressed in traditional Icelandic clothing. 

Huang said that his specialized camera equipment helped him take a photo of the rare instance. 

“The philosophy of my photography is just to capture the moments that we cannot see through our eyes,” he said. 

The first-place winner was Zihan Liu for his photograph titled “Old Man in Beijing” which depicts a man working with woodworking tools.  

Laura Pratt, the fellowship programs coordinator within The Graduate School, said that her photo, titled “Heat Wave,” was taken at a conference held at the University of Tübingen, Germany. 

Pratt said the misinformation surrounding climate change motivated her to photograph how Germany deals with high temperatures by opening windows instead of turning on air conditioning. 

“Here in the U.S., we are very fortunate that air conditioning is prevalent — not everywhere, but it is more common than not," she said. "But these old historic buildings in Germany, they don't have air conditioning."

Pratt said she hopes her photo will invoke questions surrounding the effects of and responses to climate change. 

“I think it makes me think about just how different countries are impacted by climate change and how they deal with it,” she said. 

Goldner said that the ability to share these photographs gives people the ability to learn new things.  

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Huang said this exhibition will foster community among international students and visitors.

“They may see a photo from their hometown or from their home country, and they will feel a sense of belongingness,” he said. “They will feel a sense of, 'Oh, wow, Tar Heels are everywhere.'”