Popular Photography's 15th Annual Readers' Photo Contest
First Place Winner: Estelle Dougier
What do you get when you give a lawyer a camera? It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke -- unless that lawyer was Estelle Dougier. Now a professional photographer, Estelle made her first foray into photography while pursuing her master's degree in international law at Columbia University in New York City (an ocean away from her native France) by taking classes at the International Center of Photography on the weekends."It became my passion," she says.
Whether she's shooting on an empty street or at the Moulin Rouge, most of Estelle's work uses darkness -- or the idea of night -- as a backdrop. This winning image, taken at the Charles de Gaulle airport before the world had had a chance to wipe the sleep from its eyes, is no exception. "I had to take a plane, so I went in really early, maybe 5 a.m., to photograph," Estelle says. "To me, this picture conveys a sense of loneliness." She stood outside, and the gates were opening and closing as she shot. She intentionally blurred the foreground to focus on her purpose. "A lot of my pictures are like that because my camera is not automatic," she says. "I like to control the art, not let the camera decide." To view more of her work, visit www.estelledougier.com.