Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kennedy Center Photo Contest

After my experience in Ghana, Africa this summer, knowing what I know now about the nature of photography and the problems it poses for authenticity I have mentioned earlier, sitting at the awards ceremony for the annual Kennedy Center Photo Contest for international study programs was an interesting experience.

These two pictures here earned me two honorable mentions. I was the only one who received two awards, which is fun.  However, looking through my thousands of other pictures, I can't help but wonder why these? I had probably 50 "really good pictures" to submit.  Looking at the other winners, I wonder again at how subjective their submissions were, and I never before questioned what it must be like to be a judge for one of these things. I am not sure I could do it.  There is so much more that goes into a photograph than what we see in our two dimensional image. 

Anyways, I am happy to have won something for me "essence" pictures, but both of these girls pictured I never really knew. It was just snap and walk away. How, may I ask, does this really represent a field study experience? As much as I love these pictures, there is a lot more to be said, and I am not sure where to place these images in the middle of all of that.


  1. This question of authenticity is something that came up quite often for me in South Africa, especially when I was looking at cultural tourism. This kind of tourism tries to give people a snapshot of life within a certain culture, by feeding them traditional food, showing them traditional dances, and so on. But I always wonder how much of it is real and will actually teach them more about these people and their culture, and how much is contrived purely for the tourist, giving them what they want/expect to see rather than what's real. I feel like that must be similar to the dilemma you face in your photography: finding a way to take pictures that show something real and meaningful to you and your experience, but that will also cater to what your audience wants and mean something to them. If that makes sense.

    Authenticity aside, since I have no way to judge that, I really love your photography,especially the way you seem to be able to capture personalities. I've been looking through the slideshows and really enjoying them. :)

  2. Katherine,

    I bet that has been a really interesting experience. We should catch up and compare projects. I am thinking of doing something along the lines of tourism for India this upcoming summer....

  3. Hello,

    My name is Macy Heims and I stumbled across your blog while researching about field studies in Ghana. For my English 150 class, my group and I are assigned to create a persuasive brochure about a field study of our choice. We attended the informational meeting on Friday and decided Ghana was the best option for us. In order to create a well-thought out and professional looking brochure, we need current pictures from BYU students who have gone to Ghana. We were wondering if we could obtain pictures from you? Or, if you could help us get in contact via email with other students who would be willing to share their pictures from Ghana with us. This would be greatly appreciated. We need about 10 pictures total.

    Thank you,


  4. Macy,

    I would love to help out. You are welcome to use any of my images as long as you give credits. Here is a link to all of my stuff online. My facebook page (Rachel Rueckert Photography) also has images.

    Thanks! Are you considering actually going to Ghana then? It is much more fun than 150 projects. :)


  5. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your willingness to let us use your pictures. We will definitely give you credit. Your pictures are INCREDIBLE! They really are! I hope to minor in photography so I have enjoyed looking through a lot of your pictures.

    You know, I haven't exactly thought about where I want to go, I just know I definitely want to go somewhere and study. But, seriously, after looking through your pictures, I fell in love! Those adorable kids melt me! I still have a few years before I actually plan on going somewhere but as of right now, Ghana is a front runner. Your pictures are amazing!

    Thanks again! I really appreciate it!!:)


  6. Congratulations on the awards :)


  7. Nice Blog, I like this kind of Blog. Thanks for admin who creat this site. A fun, new social website where you can post pictures,videos and compete to see whose is the best. Come see what we're about Like this page

    Photo contest