Global Encounters Photo Exhibit & Contest
The Lewis Global Studies Center Global Encounters Photo Contest and Exhibit provides a venue for Smith students to share their global experiences with the Smith community. All Smith students are encouraged to submit a photo or two depicting a global encounter they experienced abroad or within the United States. An event held in the fall semester will discuss photography composition, how to choose what to submit and how to abide by ethical photography guidelines.
Each student may submit up to two photos; each photo must be for a different category. The deadline to submit photos is generally in October of each year. Stay tuned for the 2019 date!
- Up Close: Close-up images of a specific person or thing. (Micro view)
- From Afar: Expansive views of a place or culture. (Macro view)
- Learning Moments: Social interaction between cultures or of the photographer's own immersion in a cultural context. Images that reflect "aha!" moments of discovery.
- Daily Life: Everyday moments in which one experiences culture and environment or simply the active participation in educational activities such as field work, discussion or reflection.
- Cultural Oppositions: A view of two or more distinct cultures shown in relationship to each other.
How to Submit
Digital photos of up to 10 inches in longest dimension, at 300 dpi can be submitted. Winning photos will be printed (roughly 8 x 10 inches) and displayed for the exhibit in the Nolen Art Lounge.
Save photos with a file name in this format: Country_Lastname_Firstname_class year.jpg (Kenya_Jones_Ann_12.jpg) and email the high-resolution digital photo files to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the text of your email, include the following:
- Your name
- Class year
- Location of the image
- Category/categories to which you are submitting your photo(s) (one category per photo)
- If you were participating in a college sponsored activity, include this information (i.e. study abroad, Praxis, Rhythm Nations, international experience grant, etc.)
- Brief artist statement about the photo
You will also need to include this sentence in the body of your email:
"I ____(type your full name here)___ give permission for Smith College Lewis Global Studies Center to use my photographs for promotional purposes in print and web materials."
The photo contest takes place online. All valid entries will be displayed digitally on the Lewis Global Study Center Facebook page.
The public may vote for a Viewer's Choice photo by "liking" the photo.
A panel of Smith experts in photography, visual anthropology and global culture will be invited to participate in a juried review of the contest submissions and will provide commentary on notable photos and techniques of the photos.
The intent of this juried review is to demonstrate the multiple perspectives on the impact of photographic images as well as the different disciplinary appreciations of photography as cultural documentation, aesthetic representation and student engagement.
Winning photographs will be displayed in the Nolen Art Lounge.
The photo contest jurors will announce the selected winners and discuss why they chose the photos they deemed notable. Prior to the reception, you will be able to vote on Facebook for your favorites to help select the People’s Choice photograph! The photograph with the most number of ‘Likes’ gets the honor.
Maia Russell ’19J
This is a photo of 5-year-old La Cho. He is from the Shan State province of Myanmar but is currently a novice at Naymin Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar. All boys in Myanmar must spend at least seven days of their youth as a novice, although many, like La Cho, end up spending many years, if not their whole life, learning the teachings of Buddha as well as a more traditional education. On his face he is wearing Thanaka, a paste made from the bark of a tree. All children and women in Myanmar wear Thanaka for its beauty, sun protection and skin cleansing properties. La Cho is a curious and kind child who loves to look at photos of animals and play outside in the sand.
Hanne Gaukel ’19
This was my view on my last evening in Florence. I took a stroll in my old neighborhood in the blazing July heat but slowed down to appreciate the Mugnone River and to think about all the times I had crossed it in the past year. It is not one of the most touristy locations in Florence, but it is definitely one of my favorites.
Vivian Hulsey ’19
On a cold January morning, a young boy sits while an older man plays an instrument, a chicken stands nearby, a gnome greets the observers, a puppet waits off to the side and religious votives line up in the background. The image was taken at the entrance of the Bolhão Market in Porto, which dates back to 1850.
Karla Pena ’19
This is an up close image of a building where an artist would create paintings made from sugar and fire. While on our tour of this area, he demonstrated how he was able to create his art with the sugar and fire.
Nina Sajankila ’19
Mountains through clouds, colorful roofed buildings and rainy flowers were not a sight I was used to seeing, but for many living in this small town of Mürren, Switzerland, this is life. I was intrigued by the white sky that revealed small portions of the mountain hiding, that I had to piece together like a puzzle. I had no idea of the scene that laid behind, but I was tempted to see what was hiding.
Crystal Zang ’20J
This photo was taken at a Sunday market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. “Chicken Bus” in the photo is a prevalent mode of transportation in Central American countries. They are retired school buses from the United States.
Vatsala Ramanan ’22
This photograph shows a young boy rowing his boat on the Ganges River during the evening aarti, or prayer. While I was taking his photograph the boy was looking for customers to buy the diyas, or candles, he was selling. Despite numerous rejections from people he continued to market his products with great zeal. It was an incredibly fascinating sight!
Lyric Lott ’21
Mizuho, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
While in Japan, sushi conveyor belt bars struck me as the perfect symbol of the bridge between Japan’s modern art of high-tech convenience and its beloved traditional culture. There one can experience a food Japan has enjoyed for centuries in a modern layout designed to combat the recent issue of overpopulation.
Belise Bwiza ’20
I took these Images during the summer of 2018 when I interned in Kenya in the Smith immersion program.
Maia Erslev ’18
Northwestern Yunnan Province, China
I took a photo of these women standing on one of the last remaining bridges on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan trail. The woman on the left, He Yu Qing, is of the Bai minority group and she owns a shop next door to the hostel where I was staying. Her friend, of the Yi ethnic group, came over to the shop one day and the three of us went on a walk. When we arrived at the bridge, He Yu Qing grabbed my arm and said, “Take a picture of my friend and me!” The women are both wearing the traditional clothing of their respective minority groups and juxtaposed like this, you can see the difference in their dress pales in comparison to the strength of their friendship.
Tianhua Zhu ’18
Auschwitz II (Birkenau), Poland
The rail tracks leading into Auschwitz II had seen the arrivals of the Holocaust trains, which marked the end of life for numerous Nazi victims. The weather on that day of my visit was perfect, but the sunshine had never seemed so cold and cruelly indifferent.
Helena Thompson ’18
I took this photo opposite the Houses of Parliament on the way home from work. Many Londoners were unhappy with the Brexit vote, and stickers like this were put up all around the city.
Megan Carrera-Raleigh ’18
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
This surreal view of a flamingo sanctuary employee arriving on site for the morning feeding strikes a beautiful juxtaposition of the static and the moving, and brings up questions of solitude of the subject, the ambiguity of who the subject of this photo even is, as well as the sensory limitations of photography; neither the cool humid air, nor the steady sound of scurry feet, or anything else can be felt, only imagined.
Megan Carrera-Raleigh ’18
This photo is extremely intimate and yet obviously invasive, depicting a family enjoying a Sunday by the Seine River in Paris. The angle it was taken at flattened the figures, the food, and allowed the subjects' faces to be hidden from view. It was primarily my curiosity about who they were, how they got there, and where they would go next that prompted me to snap their picture.
Katie O'Hara ’18
One of my first discoveries about the difference between Oxford University and American colleges is that at Oxford a majority of the students who join clubs are graduate students. I have always loved hiking and I wanted to see the English countryside, so I joined the Oxford Walking Club. I was excited to meet new British friends of my own age only to find out that most of them were international students in their third year of their D.Phil. While they welcomed me with open arms, I still occasionally felt homesick for my Smith friends. This was remedied when our club took a trip to the famous white cliffs of southern England. Instead of the cliffs of Dover, I was surprised to find out we were heading to the "Seven Sister Cliffs." This reminder of Smith helped cure my homesickness.
Janie Baek ’18
The picture was taken at Lu Xun Park at 7 a.m. for the sociology class I took when I was abroad at the host university. My roommate and I went to observe Tai Chi, which is usually performed in the early morning or late evening in groups at local parks. We spoke with the local elderly who have been doing this for decades for mental and physical health. We understood the cultural importance of how sacred and integral this tradition is in Chinese culture.
Jennie Kratz ’18
While on an independent travel break, my friend and I stayed with a Hungarian family living in Norway. We never connected with this family before our stay, yet they immediately welcomed us into their chaotic home, complete with a Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling, Egyptian-style Star Wars characters painted on the walls, and a room dedicated to crustacean skeletons. Throughout our three days at their home, they showed us around the island by taking us on a midnight hike to the cliffs to look over the Norwegian fjord, and, as pictured here, on a fishing trip through those fjords. We only caught one fish that day, but it was enough to elicit this unforgettable reaction from a city girl thrown entirely out of her element.
Caroline Previte ’18
Caballito, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The University of Buenos Aires is one of the most prestigious schools in Latin America. Knowing this, I was shocked to arrive my first day of classes at the philosophy and liberal arts campus to find the walls covered in political posters, spare furniture stacked in the hallways, dirty bathrooms and bare classrooms. Throughout the semester, class was regularly cancelled due to protests, and students oftentimes interrupted class to encourage others to join the political scene. I was not only impressed with the school being completely free, but also an environment full of radical ideas and debates that I personally don't see at Smith.
Cai Ytsma ’18
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
This film photo was taken in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, during a five-week, 9,000-mile road trip of a large portion of the United States. Along the way I stopped at many gas stations, but this one stood out to me as a quintessential example of daily life in America.
Giovanna Sabini-Leite ’21
The first thing you see when you arrive in Segovia is its magnificent and striking aqueduct. This aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in the second half of the 1st century A.D. and is one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts. During my short two-week stay, I was amazed at how seamlessly the old and the new blended together to create a beautiful, picturesque paradise.
Ruth Tekleab Mekbib '19
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I took this photo when I went to Ethiopia over the summer for a vacation in 2016. This church is one of the oldest churches found in Ethiopia and it is called Entoto Mariam church. It is found at a very high elevation and overlooks the city of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Inside, it has the first and ancient church built by Emperor Menelik II in 1877 G.C. It is also home to the first tomb of Empress Taitu, called "Shera Bet," built in 1918 G.C. Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu's Memorial Museum and Palace is also found here and it is a very popular tourist destination in Ethiopia.
Madeleine Hoecklin ’20
This cityscape perspective of Yangon provides insight into the workings and lively activity of Myanmar's largest city, evidence of the history and the current transitional stage based on the mix of architectural styles of buildings, and indications of the rapid development taking place.
Lyn Watts ’17
Taken before I began my geology field camp. A little girl dressed up for a ceremony honoring the god Hanuman. Clearly uninterested in the dancing, she preoccupies herself instead with the large puddles left by an afternoon of monsoon rains.
Emily Bae ’17
Seoul, South Korea
This is a self-portrait of sorts. Over the summer in South Korea at Ewha Woman's University, I learned this gesture from my "Peace buddy," a student who helps you to encounter and assimilate into Korean culture. By placing your thumb and index finger together like this, you form a small heart. After I learned this sign, I was surprised at how ubiquitous it really is. Friends hold this symbol up to each other in greeting, k-pop stars flash it at their fans to show their affection, and it is placed on objects everywhere: stationery, clothing, you name it. In this photo, I had just learned this cultural signifier and was practicing it at the Han River, at dusk, before a picnic with friends.
Emily Bae ’17
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea is one of the most connected places in the world. It is known to have lightning fast data and Internet connections, widespread public Wi-Fi that actually functions well, etc. Seoul, in particular, is a mecca of technology, and because of this, we were constantly on our phones documenting our experiences. I took this metaphoto of two friends, one of them updating his snapchat story to share some of the beauty of Yeouido Park with his friends back home. I thought it was extremely fitting that only his phone screen was in focus; even though it is my picture of the park, you really only see the photo through his lens.
Jessica Ryan AC ’17J
I choose this photo to represent daily life because it exemplifies, for me, the way in which daily life intersects with art in Italy. Part of life in Rome are all of the stairs traversing the seven hills. The locals know all of the stairs' shortcuts to any part of town and will typically climb hundreds of stairs daily (I know I did). I came down this staircase (the third of three to get to where I needed to go) and had my breath taken away when I turned back and discovered the mural. This staircase was on the back side of Rome where tourists have little reason to go, and so to see this mural on the back side of the stairs reminded me that the art of Italy is for Italians first and foremost. Even the most mundane of trips to the local grocer is steeped in the tradition of Italian art.
Alexandra (Alex) Widstrand ’17
San Salvador, the Bahamas
Geosciences sponsored my research trip to survey coastal erosion on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas. Although this research trip had the serious objective of surveying coastal erosion on the island, we also wanted to capture the fun side of research. We got our team together for a quick selfie using the drone—we like to call this a “dronie”—on one of the nicer days in the field.
Claire Horne ’17
On a rainy day I walked over the famed Sydney Harbor Bridge and caught a glimpse of it through the rusted, cage-like fences that line the street-level walkway. Despite the severity of the metal grate, individuals have signed their names, left a tag, or left a lock marking their presence on this celebrated symbol of modernity in Australia.
Jenny Huang ’17
Taiwan is filled with motorcyclists; locals own at least one. It’s one of the most common forms of transportation, as motorcycles are compact and able to fit into the small, whirling streets of modernizing Taipei. As I waited for the stoplight to blink green, I snapped a quick photo of this couple zooming toward the Night Market.
Renu Linberg, AC ’18J
Locals and a few tourists swim in a hot springs swimming pool, Seljavallalaug, located in southern Iceland, nestled in a valley just off the beaten path. After a winding hike I came across a handful of people floating and chatting and enjoying the warm water on a cool, cloudy day.
Sydney Keen ’17
Havana Vieja, Cuba
In Havana, my favorite pastime was to wander the streets, chatting with locals and capturing scenes in photos. The moment shown here is one of my favorites, taken on my last day in that beautiful city. As I was gazing at the house from across the street, the man seated in front noticed and caught the little boy's attention so that they could smile for my camera. I have several photos in the series, but this is my favorite because it shows exactly the moment when the two in front transitioned from going about their day as usual to interacting with me from across the street. Meanwhile, up above, a man had just begun to engage in conversation with a woman who had been leisurely reading. The photo is full of transitional energy, curiosity, engagement and life.
Echo Zhang ’19
I took this photo while waiting for the train to pass. Trains are ubiquitous and the most convenient way of public transportation in Tokyo. This girl in school uniform, looking down at her phone while waiting for the light, represents the daily life of a lot of students, as they spend a great amount of time traveling in and out of the metropolis.
Sable Liggera ’17
Although striking, adapting to air pollution is part of daily life in Shanghai. Displayed here is the famous site of Pudong, submerged in smog.