These photos are so dazzling, the colors so vibrant, they don’t need any Instagram filters.
The fifth annual Global Programs photo contest drew nearly 1,000 submissions from more than 400 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The monumental task of choosing 12 winners fell to a panel of 8 judges, and the winning entries have been announced. Photos were taken in 78 countries, from places as far as Iceland, Myanmar, and Greece.
The judges whittled the entries to 18 semifinalists, and a second round of judging narrowed the list further, to an even dozen (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, along with 9 finalists). Amanda Miller, Global Programs managing director of strategy and communications, says the judges looked for photos that were “more than just a pretty landscape,” but instead “told a story.” Blind judging meant that judges had no information about who took the photo, the photographer’s school, or where the photo was taken.
“The enthusiasm, quality, and diversity of subject and location continue to amaze us,” says Willis Wang, vice president and associate provost for global programs. “It makes the job of the judges not only a pleasure, but also a challenge. Each year it gets harder and harder to choose the top 12 photos from among the entries. We are already looking forward to next year’s challenge.”
Laura Burvill (CAS’18, COM’18) took the top prize for her vibrant photograph of a cellist on a small side street in Melbourne, Australia. Burvill, who is studying abroad Down Under this semester, says she prefers to avoid tourist traps and doesn’t follow a strict itinerary when traveling; doing so helps her explore the questions, why do people live here? What makes this place special? Her prize was a waterproof GoPro camera package worth $350.
Leyao Xie (COM’19) earned second place honors for her photo of local farmers heading home along the terraced fields of Longji Titian, in China’s Guangxi Province. “The photo has a Chinese name, called 天路, which means ‘The way to the end of sky,’” says Xie, who was in the area traveling with her mother two years ago. She took home a Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer, a smartphone camera tripod, and an HD camera lens kit, totaling $180.
Third prize, a Fujifilm instant camera package valued at $100, was awarded to Hanwen Wu (GRS’19) for his ethereal shot of an ice cave inside Iceland’s Vatna Glacier, taken while on vacation with his wife in early March. “While enjoying this unearthly, beautiful formation, our tour guide told us that he had to drive about 10 more minutes to reach the entrance compared to just last year,” says Wu. “The entrances of such caves are retreating in record speed in recent years due to global warming. He said…he may lose his job as a cave guide since these caves will be disappearing if the average temperature keeps rising.”
The nine finalist images were taken in China, Greece, Iceland, Myanmar, Sicily, California, and much closer to home—Boston’s North End.
Global Programs comprises Study Abroad, the Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP), the International Student & Scholars Office, and Global Support.