GoPro Photo Contest 2009

The winners of our first annual GoPro student competition prove that great photography lets you see familiar things in a new light.

Portraiture

Sarah Zemunski
Academy of Art University
San Francisco, CA

When I started school I knew I loved photography, but I had no idea what I wanted to take pictures of," says Sarah Zemunski. "Everyone else was shooting people, fashion, still life, landscapes, but I didn't seem to have a particular interest in any of those areas." What Zemunski did know was dogs, her lifelong love. "I was with dogs so much that I began taking pictures of them for school assignments," says the photographer, who found her models at doggy day care and through the dog-walking service she worked for. "I realized I could combine my two life passions."

Zemunski's striking portrait is of an abused dog named Zoey. "She's very shy and insecure," says the photographer. "She'd rather keep to herself than socialize with other dogs or people." Zoey is surrounded by leaves because "it's as if she is using them to hide herself," says Zemunski, who hopes to do "high end" dog portraiture once she finishes school. "I see people in the dogs I shoot. Every dog has a different personality." -Russell Hart

Sports

Jeremy Adams
Pasadena City College
Pasadena, CA

For Jeremy Adams, the line between photography and subject matter is blurry. A fervent skateboarder, Adams started taking pictures of the sport in high school after he was sidelined by an injury. "Now I skateboard every chance I get and I shoot photos every chance I get," he says. Using lighting skills learned both at PCC and during a summer internship with L.A. photographer Paul Harris, Adams shot this image of a friend skating at an abandoned elementary school with his camera and a single strobe head placed ten feet high. Though the image is unmanipulated, Adams is a fan of movie poster photographer and master compositor Michael Muller, and hopes to acquire gnarly Photoshop skills when he transfers to Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. -Russell Hart

Travel

Santokh Kochar
College of DuPage
Glen Ellyn, IL

A self-proclaimed "perpetual photography student" at the College of DuPage, Santokh Kochar was on vacation in his native India when he made this atmospheric image of a Rajasthani shepherd returning home with his flock. "There was dust flying in the air that just made the picture," says Kochar, who had to dash down the road to capture the scene. "It gave it a certain depth." The original image was shot on color slide film, but the photographer felt it lacked visual impact, so after scanning it he converted it to monochrome. Says Kochar, "I think it evokes the simplicity and beauty of the Rajasthan people." -Lindsay Sakraida

Nature

Holt Lindenberger
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL

One of the things I like about nature photography is that you don't have to tell your subject how to pose or act natural," says Holt Lindenberger, a senior majoring in advertising at the University of North Florida. "You just have to be there."

There is clearly more to Lindenberger's surreal image of a wading bird, though, than simply having been there. Shooting at night by a building's floodlights, Lindenberger put his camera on a tripod, aimed it at a nearby marsh, and set it for a 30-second exposure. When his feathered friend stepped into the frame, he tripped the shutter-and each time the bird paused it created a distinct image of itself.

The photographer didn't have the instant feedback of digital capture to view his spooky results on location; he saw the image only after processing his Kodak T-Max 100 film. "I would rather shoot film than digital, mainly because of the darkroom," says Lindenberger, who enjoys photographing "anything outdoors," but especially surfing. "I like the hands-on aspect of it." -Russell Hart

FINE ART

Kate Owen
Brown University
Providence, RI

While driving through the Nevada desert to a barbecue, Kate Owen came across an abandoned trailer bathed
in warm, lovely light. Owen was traveling with an old camera and a new friend whose long blond hair melded perfectly with the tableau of serene, dusty colors. "I'm more interested in the interactions between my subjects and the setting in which I place them than the actual individual," says Owen, perhaps explaining why her acquaintance is turned away from the camera.

A junior at Brown University, Owen has taken only two photography classes as an undergrad, one of them at the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design. That hasn't stopped her from shooting pictures constantly. This image is part of a larger, ongoing series about cowboys, but its sophisticated feeling suggests Owen will do well in her aspiration to be a fashion photographer. -Lindsay Sakraida

Portraiture

Sarah Zemunski
Academy of Art University
San Francisco, CA

When I started school I knew I loved photography, but I had no idea what I wanted to take pictures of," says Sarah Zemunski. "Everyone else was shooting people, fashion, still life, landscapes, but I didn't seem to have a particular interest in any of those areas." What Zemunski did know was dogs, her lifelong love. "I was with dogs so much that I began taking pictures of them for school assignments," says the photographer, who found her models at doggy day care and through the dog-walking service she worked for. "I realized I could combine my two life passions."

Zemunski's striking portrait is of an abused dog named Zoey. "She's very shy and insecure," says the photographer. "She'd rather keep to herself than socialize with other dogs or people." Zoey is surrounded by leaves because "it's as if she is using them to hide herself," says Zemunski, who hopes to do "high end" dog portraiture once she finishes school. "I see people in the dogs I shoot. Every dog has a different personality." -Russell Hart

Sports

Jeremy Adams
Pasadena City College
Pasadena, CA

For Jeremy Adams, the line between photography and subject matter is blurry. A fervent skateboarder, Adams started taking pictures of the sport in high school after he was sidelined by an injury. "Now I skateboard every chance I get and I shoot photos every chance I get," he says. Using lighting skills learned both at PCC and during a summer internship with L.A. photographer Paul Harris, Adams shot this image of a friend skating at an abandoned elementary school with his camera and a single strobe head placed ten feet high. Though the image is unmanipulated, Adams is a fan of movie poster photographer and master compositor Michael Muller, and hopes to acquire gnarly Photoshop skills when he transfers to Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. -Russell Hart

Travel

Santokh Kochar
College of DuPage
Glen Ellyn, IL

A self-proclaimed "perpetual photography student" at the College of DuPage, Santokh Kochar was on vacation in his native India when he made this atmospheric image of a Rajasthani shepherd returning home with his flock. "There was dust flying in the air that just made the picture," says Kochar, who had to dash down the road to capture the scene. "It gave it a certain depth." The original image was shot on color slide film, but the photographer felt it lacked visual impact, so after scanning it he converted it to monochrome. Says Kochar, "I think it evokes the simplicity and beauty of the Rajasthan people." -Lindsay Sakraida

Nature

Holt Lindenberger
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL

One of the things I like about nature photography is that you don't have to tell your subject how to pose or act natural," says Holt Lindenberger, a senior majoring in advertising at the University of North Florida. "You just have to be there."

There is clearly more to Lindenberger's surreal image of a wading bird, though, than simply having been there. Shooting at night by a building's floodlights, Lindenberger put his camera on a tripod, aimed it at a nearby marsh, and set it for a 30-second exposure. When his feathered friend stepped into the frame, he tripped the shutter-and each time the bird paused it created a distinct image of itself.

The photographer didn't have the instant feedback of digital capture to view his spooky results on location; he saw the image only after processing his Kodak T-Max 100 film. "I would rather shoot film than digital, mainly because of the darkroom," says Lindenberger, who enjoys photographing "anything outdoors," but especially surfing. "I like the hands-on aspect of it." -Russell Hart

FINE ART

Kate Owen
Brown University
Providence, RI

While driving through the Nevada desert to a barbecue, Kate Owen came across an abandoned trailer bathed
in warm, lovely light. Owen was traveling with an old camera and a new friend whose long blond hair melded perfectly with the tableau of serene, dusty colors. "I'm more interested in the interactions between my subjects and the setting in which I place them than the actual individual," says Owen, perhaps explaining why her acquaintance is turned away from the camera.

A junior at Brown University, Owen has taken only two photography classes as an undergrad, one of them at the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design. That hasn't stopped her from shooting pictures constantly. This image is part of a larger, ongoing series about cowboys, but its sophisticated feeling suggests Owen will do well in her aspiration to be a fashion photographer. -Lindsay Sakraida