American Photo's "Go Pro" Student Photography Contest Winners

Harrington College of Design, Chicago, "Boating and Bumming" This idyllic beach scene was shot in the urban, midwestern climes of downtown Chicago. "The photograph was taken atop the John Hancock Center," says Taryn Goodge, age 18, who grew up in rural Michigan before moving to the Windy City to attend Harrington College of Design, where she's a freshman. "My plans as a photographer are changing all the time," she says. "Two months ago, I would have told you that I want to work in the police department as a forensic photographer. However, now I am getting much more interested in product and tabletop photography, so I'm considering looking further into that as a career choice. I shoot freelance portraits, and I'm working on a street photography project."
University of Akron, Akron, OH “Thunderhead Over Twin Lakes, 2011”
Washburn University, Topeka, KS "Coast" Chalk this winning entry up to serendipity. "A happy accident led to the final image," says Grace Elizabeth Phelps-Roper, 19, a freshman photography student at Washburn University. "The two shots were both taken on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We had rented bicycles and traveled all around the city that way. The first exposure is of my uncle riding his bike down the beach. The second one was done in the same frame while I was under a pier, kayaking. The resulting composite is a double exposure made in-camera." Still, fine art isn't her only focus. "I love taking portraits," Phelps-Roper says, "but above all, I want to become a photojournalist." Indeed, portraiture may have been hard to avoid in her household. Certainly she was never at a loss for subject matter growing up. "My mom is one of 13 children and I am one of 11. So I'd like to thank my siblings, parents and extended family for always being such willing subjects and helping me develop my craft."
College for Creative Studies, Detroit “Charlotta”
Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA "Wakeboarding Using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi, Robert Noll snapped six frames of a wakeboarder's arc at 1/1000 second to create this motion study. "After the photographs were taken, I composited the final image in Photoshop," he says. "This was taken as part of a larger series called 'Wakeboarding,' which is one of my favorite activities." Noll, 20, made the picture at Lake Wallenpaupack in northeastern Pennsylvania in summertime; he was on break from Bucks County Community College, where he discovered photography and majors in cinema/video production. As an extension of his film work, Noll enjoys crafting narratives within composite stills. Wherever his career path leads him, he says, "I plan to be an artistic and studio photographer."
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN “On Air”Matthew DeMaria
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY “Little Big League”Bobby J. Yarbrough
Imperial Valley College, Imperial, CA "Morning in Milan" While traveling in Milan, Brad Scroggins Jr. made a series of images of churches and cathedrals, including this shot of a duomo with a Hitchcockian swarm of birds. "My aspiration as a photographer is to explore and travel the world, freezing beautiful images in time," says Scroggins, 18, a freshman studying linguistics at Imperial Valley College. "I am still a beginner but I truly love photography." He strives to make images with maximum emotional heft. "Pictures have incredible power," he says. "The right photo can start a war or make you fall in love."
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK “Route 66”
Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN "Jacqueline" Jaclyn Wright made this portrait of her grandmother, Jacqueline Haviland Schlosser, less than two months before Schlosser passed away. "I am my grandmother's namesake," says Wright, 25. "The image was taken in her final stages of Alzheimer's disease. But I'm thankful for being blessed with such an amazing grandmother." Having earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Wright is now pursuing an MFA degree at Indiana University. "I want to make artwork," she says, "and teach photography at a university level. Although other disciplines are not out of the question."
Academy of Art University, San Francisco “7:04”
The Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, VA “Eboneé”

From happy accidents to studied composites, from towers to duomos, from the bloom of youth to the slow twilight of senescence, the winners of our annual American Photo On Campus Go Pro Photo Contest were unafraid to roam in their vision quests. It’s what we hope for in a competition for college students. School is a time for exploring, for ignoring boundaries and for rampant experimentation. This year’s contest drew 3,352 entries, and contained incredible diversity. Still, all of our winners and runners-up across five categories share something: a knack for creating distinctive, evocative images that tell stories in a single frame. From what we can see, their prospects for Going Pro are wide open.