2010 American Photo GoPro Contest

We unveil the winners of this year's student competition.

GoPro Grand Prize Winner
GoPro Grand Prize Winner
Grand Prize Winner -- Fine Art Category The familiar tale of peter pan inspired GoPro Grand Prize winner Chrissie White to create a more ominous version of Wendy taking flight. Collaborating with her friend and fellow photographer Clara Pathé, she placed a remotely-triggered flash outside the window to cast a cool beam of light into the room—then propelled herself from a bedpost while Clara tripped the shutter on White's Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. No sleight-of-Photoshop was involved! White herself was transported by photography several years ago, and she soon started posting her pictures on Flickr. She credits both the online photography community and her artistically talented friends for the technical information and exchange of ideas that have allowed her to develop her skills. “The internet is very helpful these days,” she says. “That's where I got most of my photo education—along with experimenting with the camera, which is the best way to learn.” As for college, white has her eye on the school of visual arts or another art-oriented New York City school. She's interested in set design and prop styling in addition to being behind the camera. “I’d love to be a creative director,” she says. Those aspirations clearly reflect her collaborative approach to creative photography.Chrissie White
Portraiture Winner
Portraiture Winner
Portraiture Category Winner Searching online for the right word with which to name one of her photographs, Jesse Fox stumbled upon a virtual encyclopedia of irrational trepidations. “There are some really bizarre phobias,” she says. So many, in fact, that she decided to make a project of depicting them for a class in creating a photo book. “Obesophobia,” the image here, is taken from the resulting book, Phobophobia, which fox produced through the self-publishing website Blurb (blurb.com). Although both of her parents are avid photographers, Fox began her studies with a focus on theater. She didn’t start shooting seriously until the modeling she was doing for photographer friends gave her the urge to get behind the camera. “It was almost four years ago that I started thinking about taking pictures to try to create art, to try to get a certain feeling across,” she says. But her affinity for the theatrical continues to inform her approach to crafting the scenes she photographs. “It was my background in theater that led me to want to create more narrativetype work,” she says. “I think that’s where a lot of my ideas have come from.”Jesse Fox
Travel Winner
Travel Winner
Travel Category Winner While the landscape of the American West was what first drew Musleh Jameel to study photography in the U.S., the Saudi Arabian native discovered a human landscape here that led him to broaden his artistic focus. “I’ve decided that I have to do something related to human daily life—the human struggle, the beauty of humanity, the good sides and bad sides,” he says. To that end, Jameel took his new perspective and photographic skills back to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that draws millions of Muslims from around the world to the holy city of Mecca. “I wanted to document people and how they do the rituals,” he says, “how they pray and how they worship.” His project included portraits of many pilgrims and culminated in this image of worshippers taking part in the Tawaf. During the Tawaf pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the holiest site in Mecca, in a common movement that symbolizes their unity and equality in the eyes of God. To capture that movement and the spirit of the event, Jameel mounted his camera on a tripod and slowed its shutter speed down to five seconds, which turned the many moving figures into a ghostly streak. “The image is about how people blend together in this place,” the photographer explains. “It shows their spiritual journey.”Musleh Jameel
Nature Winner
Nature Winner
Nature Category Winner It took a combination of technical finesse, physical stamina, and patience on the part of Bruce Peerson to capture the image he calls “midnight Traffic Jam.” working in his own driveway at night he quietly observed a moth perched on a lamppost—his Canon EOS 5D mark ii in one hand and a flash in the other—until a June bug stumbled into the frame and created a decisive moment. patience and endurance are essential to Peerson’s many closeup images because they often feature live subjects that move too much to allow the use of a tripod—and that are easily scared off. “Two hours of holding still are much more difficult than two hours of jogging,” says Peerson. To get such highly magnified views of his tiny subjects, Peerson puts a close-up diopter on his Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens—reducing depth of field to a few millimeters even at smaller apertures. “You have to be able to imagine where your plane of focus is going to be,” he explains. “Otherwise you’re going to shoot for hours and not get anything. I’ll ask myself which details I want to emphasize in the image and what shooting position will angle the plane of focus so that they’re sharp.” It’s clear that Peerson has an eye—make that two—for his bug-eyed subjects, but there’s more to his work than that. “I don’t just take pictures of bugs,” he says. “I take pictures of almost everything.” and his skill and eye for detail serve a more fundamental goal of his photography. In his own words, “it’s about extracting the beauty from everyday reality that you don’t see unless you’re paying attention to it.”Bruce Peerson
Sports Winner
Sports Winner
Sports Category Winner Andrew Weber fell in love with the setting of his winning photograph while shooting a latesummer football game at Lakota High school in Kansas, Ohio. “The light is gorgeous,” says Weber, who regularly returns to the spot for its unobstructed horizons. “I go back for one reason, and that’s to be able to get that sunset in the background of pictures.” The photographer shot this image handheld, lying on the ground to place the players’ full silhouettes against the sky. “I spent probably a good forty minutes trying to get that picture, and I got lucky.” Luck seems to have little to do with it. A largely self-taught photographer who plans to graduate with a marketing degree, Weber regularly solicits critiques from fellow sports photographers online—and applies the discipline of an athlete to the task of honing his craft. That’s not surprising, since he’s also a kicker for his university’s football team, the Toledo rockets. “I make a game of the photography,” he explains. “The players are on the field trying to make their plays. my game is to try to capture the plays they’re making.”Andrew Weber
ADVERTISEMENT