These nine Documentary Photography Projects were chosen by
2017 judges Anne Havinga and Ken Light for Honorable Mention
Southern Maine Community College
Project Title: Tátik
"Every morning we drink coffee together. In the evenings I drink tea in a mug that she bought for me. I spend a lot of time looking through the windows of her kitchen. These are my favorite views of the village, green blooming hills and potato fields beyond. Next to them are strawberry fields with the tastiest berries I’ve ever had. My tátik (“grandmother” in Armenian) was recovering from severe surgery and I came to visit her."
Mendocino College, Calif.
Project Title: Beautiful Wish
"As I recall, it was spring time during my Senior year, and my first time in a Photography class when I took the photo of a little boy in front of a sunset blowing on a dandelion. Allow me to elaborate on this photo that meant so much to me. It was in the fall of 2013 when the school I was attending, Potter Valley High School, opened its first Photography class. As long as I've been able to hold a camera, I've enjoyed taking pictures. In junior high I made the decision to attend the Yearbook class, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Once high school came around I decided to take more Yearbook classes, and those were the highlight of my high school experience up until that point."
Minerva Schools at KGI, Calif.
Project Title: The Yellowness of Everything
"Senegal is so yellow. The sand and the dirt, the fences of cane or rattan. The colonial walls of Goree. The sunset lights. I could never quite capture how perpetually yellow everything was. I strive to document the most dramatic shades of yellow in the country. The streak of yellow in the Senegalese national flag was one of my favorite subjects. The pervading yellow was almost as if I saw Senegal through tinted temperature glasses, and Senegal was precisely that: passionately vibrant and apologetically warm."
Reed College, Ore.
Project Title: "Okay."
"My mom has been struggling with her declining health after being diagnosed with a rare and debilitating neurological condition that has entirely upended her life. The goal of this highly personal portfolio, titled 'Okay.,' has been to help her come to terms with the reality of being sick—acceptance therapy for her "new life" through photographs. Specifically, it documents the moments before, during, and after her procedure to have an IV chest port installed."
New York University
Project Title: The Aqueduct
"'The Aqueduct,' focuses on the Aqueduct racetrack and casino in Queens, NY and the people who frequent it. The Aqueduct, which is the oldest racetrack in New York, attracts a diverse mix of mostly men - from elder white men in their 60’s to young West African men - all of whom go to the Aqueduct in order to gamble and bet. The people who visit the track do so on days with and without races, rain or shine. The Aqueduct opens daily at 11:30am and men are almost always waiting in a queue by the time the gates open. The Aqueduct presents a distinct and age-old culture of gambling, leisure and escapism that can be found in racetracks and casinos around the country."
Temple University, Penn.
Project Title: Without Us
"We do not deserve this planet. The question of what one deserves may be based on an individual’s system of determining worth, but with consideration of the present course of destruction, we have not demonstrated a legacy of respect. Our behavior has not entitled us the benefits of the resources we have so recklessly pillaged and squandered, and yet many exist in a haze of contentment, waving off warnings and continuing life as usual. Many do not consider that in the scheme of the universe, our presence is not central; we are not necessary. This planet does not need us, even though we need it."
Santa Rosa Junior College, Calif.
Project Title: Where Magpies Mourn
"At the end of March, 2017, I left Petaluma, California with my Father, Michael, driving north. The idea was to find a place for the two of us to settle, somewhere in northern California. We spent some six weeks on the road crisscrossing the state–from Arcata on the Pacific coast across the Trinity/Shasta mountain range and on east as far as Reno, Nevada–in between we laid up in tourist spots, hardscrabble little towns and other oft-neglected backwaters well off the I-5. In the midst of this familial hegira, 6 weeks were spent at a pot farm in southern Oregon. These photographs are the record of those weeks, a set of evocative captures of the marginal, the broke down, the stubbornly independent and oddly beautiful encountered along that journey."
Penn State University
Project Title: The Prince of Acting
"Yuanhong Cao, a sophomore studying computer science at Penn State, spends almost all his free time acting in a Chinese theater club. The theater club is where he spent most of his time the last few months. He said he even cannot live without theater, it is acting that motivates him to enjoy his life."
Knox College, Ill.
Project Title: A Fight with Mental Illness
"Mental illness is a subject that is greatly stigmatized. I truly believe that part of the reasoning for that is due to the fact that it is often hidden or intangible in general; you can see a person with the flu, but you can’t always see a person with depression. That being said, mental illness is just as real as the flu or strep throat. In some cases, mental illness is seen and yet no one takes action. For example, eating disorders can cause an obvious change to one’s physical appearance, and yet people either keep quiet about it, praise that person on their weight loss, or shame that person for their weight gain. The idea that a mental health related issue is what could be causing this change is very rarely considered."