2020 Photo Contest
The Office of International Programs, in collaboration with the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, is pleased to announce the winners of the 12th annual International Eye Photo Contest. This year, 33 photos were selected from approximately 500 total submissions.
The contest was open to all Princeton undergraduate students who have studied, worked, conducted research, or volunteered abroad in the past year. We were honored to have Annabelle Priestley, Curatorial Assistant at the Princeton University Art Museum, judge the main categories.
This year’s winners represent a wide range of international activities including semester and summer study abroad, PIIRS Global Seminars, the Novogratz Bridge Year Program, Engineers Without Borders, the International Internship Program, and more. Submissions were taken in over 40 countries and came from students in all six residential colleges and 32 different concentrations.
Best in Show
Best in Show, 1st Place Landscape / Nature: Harshini Abbaraju ’22
The Bluest Waters – Ladakh, India
Pangong Tso Lake near India-China border
1st place, Abstraction: Ashley Cao ’23
Step by Step – Surakarta, Indonesia
Pictured is the roof of an ancient Surakarta temple, although at eye level, it seemed more to me like stairs and stepping stones.
2nd place, Abstraction: Corr Cooper ’21
Endless Glass – Bordeaux, France
The ceiling decorations in the wine-tasting area of the top floor of the Cité du Vin museum.
3rd place, Abstraction: Elizabeth Tong ’23
Bells of Aspiration – Lijiang, China
Dongba aspiration bells have a long history in Lijiang dating back more than 600 years as part of Naxi culture. Originally, these bells were placed near villages to ensure the safety of merchants and other travelers on the Ancient Tea Horse Road--travelers would ring the bells to signal their arrival and intention to trade--but their use has since evolved, and now tourists who visit Lijiang are commonly seen buying these bells so that they can hang them throughout the city. Even with the influence of the tourism industry (or perhaps because of it), however, the significance of the Dongba aspiration bells has not been completely lost at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to Naxi tradition, there is a particular energy that emits from all of creation, and it is believed that the ringing of the dongba aspiration bells resonates with this force. Thus, attached to each bell, one will typically find a wooden board with a dongba character written on it. (Dongba is the Naxi people's written language and one of the last living pictographic languages in the world, and it was traditionally used by Naxi priests, who are also referred to as Dongba.) On this board, people write their hopes and sign their name before leaving their bells to hang such that the ringing of the bells can be heard all throughout Lijiang's Old Town.
Honorable Mention, Abstraction: Diana Chao ’21
Look Up – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In Malaysia, we visited the famous Batu Caves. But where tourists overcrowd the ground, why not look up? As I glanced towards the top of this sacred Hindu site, a bird flew by, perfectly framed by the trees nearby.
Honorable Mention, Abstraction: Sally Jane Ruybalid ’21
Unceasing – Vatican City
Perspective looking down the Vatican exit.
Architecture / Cityscape
1st place, Architecture / Cityscape: Hyojin Lee ’20
Revolutionary – Buenos Aires, Argentina
A memorial for victims of government violence and kidnappings during the years 1976–83 stands against a dusky sky.
2nd place, Architecture / Cityscape: Claire Orare ’21
Put Your Heart Into It – Paraty, Brazil
Residents of Paraty cruising through the town - the reflection beneath the palm tree forms a sideways heart.
3rd place, Architecture / Cityscape: Jean Luo ’21
The City of Water – Venice, Italy
A panorama of Venice.
Honorable Mention, Architecture / Cityscape: Sofia Bisogno ’20
Landmark 81 – Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam
Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam. While impressive during the day, the way it sparkles at night is mesmerizing. It was famously built by the biggest developer family in Vietnam, but rumors surrounding it claim many of the residences remain empty and the few people that live there are rich foreigners.
Honorable Mention, Architecture / Cityscape: Jonathan Ort ’21
Diamonds and rust – Colonia, Uruguay
In Colonia, Uruguay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a rusting Ford sat beneath the stuccoed shadows of stately houses.
Landscape / Nature
1st place, Landscape / Nature: Harshini Abbaraju ’22
The Bluest Waters – Ladakh, India
Pangong Tso Lake near India-China border
2nd place, Landscape / Nature: Fabiola Corral ’21
A Monet Come to Life – Giverny, France
3rd place, Landscape / Nature: Rimsha Malik ’21
African Wild Dog Death Stare – Laikipia County, Kenya
The deadly gaze of a resting African wild dog in Laikipia County/Mpala Research Centre
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Jazz Chang ’22
mirrored – Taipei, Taiwan
A rickety bamboo bridge preserved from ages ago
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Anna Hiltner ’23
Oasis – Uyuni, Bolivia
After hours of driving through the desert in Uyuni, we found ourselves surrounded by volcanic rock formations in a hidden oasis of llamas and alpacas.
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Paul Kopp ’21
Drive In – Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand's South Island is the perfect place for a road trip. No traffic, plenty of stops, and views like this.
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Annika Kruse ’20
Filipino Sunset – Port Barton, Philippines
A sunset after a day of snorkeling and island hopping
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Roland Mounier ’20
Panama Canal – Gamboa, Panama
Panama Canal entering the Caribbean
Honorable Mention, Landscape / Nature: Jonathan Ort ’21
Monk parakeets at sunset – Buenos Aires, Argentina
The setting sun cast the Reserva ecologicá de Buenos Aires in a dazzling purple light. At the edge of a lily-covered pond, I spied a group of several dozen monk parakeets, who had congregated along a railing. I set my shutter speed to 1/2,500 of a second and trained my lens on the beautiful birds, waiting for their inevitable explosion into flight.
1st place, People: Anna Hiltner ’23
Dani – Valle Alto, Cochabamba, Bolivia
"Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant. You know? I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant autopilot, with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient, polite manner. 'Here's your change' 'Paper or plastic? 'Credit or debit' 'You want ketchup with that?' I don't want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be ant, you know? --Waking Life (2001)
2nd place, People: Bruce Allen ’20
Thangka Technique – Bhaktapur, Nepal
An artisan painter who specializes in Thangka -- a Tibetan Buddhist style -- painting. In the crafts district of Bhaktapur, Nepal.
3rd place, People: Kevin Hou ’20
Language of Dance – Hong Kong
Kieran Li (center), Ben Chiu (Left), and Jayden Hero (right) are all competitive dancers on tour in Asia, who had met for the first time that day to see what their combined creative energy do. Through a dense mix of English and Chinese, I asked if I could film and photograph what they had come up with. We ultimately spent 2 hours chatting, shooting footage, and getting to know each other. I still keep up with them on social media and it's true testimony to the power of art as a means of instant connection.
Honorable Mention, People: Felicity Audet ’21
A Sanctuary for a Rainy Day – Shaxi, Yunnan, China
A candid photo of Shaxi villagers indulging in the pleasures of music while seeking refuge from the day's relentless rain.
PIIRS Global Seminar
1st place, PIIRS Global Seminar: Owen Matthews ’22
Joy of the Tundra – Yakutsk, Russia
High school students at the Yakutsk Ballet School perform Joy of the Tundra, a northern Siberian Indigenous dance that mimics the movements of the creatures and elements of the earth while also referencing the classical syntax of Russian ballet.
2nd place, PIIRS Global Seminar: Katya Kopach ’22
Eternal Summer – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While visiting Paraty, we were given the wonderful opportunity to travel by boat around the beautiful town. Like most of the country, the shipyard was filled with vibrant colors and beautiful landscapes. One of the most eye-catching boats was the "Sol de Verão" or "Sun of Summer." Even though we were technically experiencing a Brazilian winter, it felt like a beautiful summer day.
3rd place, PIIRS Global Seminar: Owen Matthews ’22
Atop the Lena Pillars – Moscow, Russia
July in Siberia.
A Window on Eurasia
1st place, A Window on Eurasia: Jianing Zhao ’20
Rooftop Ruminations – St. Petersburg, Russia
Besides interning at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, I was searching for local photographers to collaborate on artistic photoshoots with. For this one, we had the idea of combining Chinese traditional costume with a typical St. Petersburg landscape (i.e. this cathedral in the background) - two ancient heritages and cultures coming together. For this, I hunted the second-hand/vintage shops throughout the city for a costume, eventually not finding any Chinese costumes but managing to rent a kimono. I also got a babushka's white table cloth and cut it by myself into an outer belt, and then found a red scarf to use as the inner belt. The photographer worked on climbing a roof with the desired view. It was a wonderful collaboration, challenging but rewarding, which allowed me to not only fulfill my artistic vision, but also practice my Russian in a practical setting and feel like I actually belong to this city.
2nd place, A Window on Eurasia: Hannah Bein ’22
Moskva River on Russia Day – Moscow, Russia
A view of the Moskva River from Gorky Park at sunset
3rd place, A Window on Eurasia: Phoebe Park ’21
Double Take – Krakow, Poland
The last weekend in Poland, I ran around the country trying to check off all the last boxes on my to-do list. On Friday, my boss invited a bunch of other Portuguese managers over for dinner to celebrate the completion of a great eight weeks, and we ate the best Portuguese food I have ever had before whilst downing glasses after glasses of red wine. Hungover and tired, I woke up 1.5 hrs later to catch the 6am train to Wroclaw, the city of bridges (my favorite structure). And the next day, I sprinted through a rainy six hour hike up and down mountains to catch the most beautiful double rainbow. I'm so glad that I gave Poland a double take.
1st place, Tigers Abroad: Bruce Allen ’20
Bruce and Buddha – Bodh Gaya, India
Spending a semester in Bodh Gaya, India -- the site of Buddha's enlightenment -- inspired me to look up to Buddha metaphorically, spiritually, and, at times, physically.
2nd place, Tigers Abroad: Riley Wagner ’20
¡Que Chistoso! – Pusunchás, Peru
Members of the Princeton Engineers Without Borders Peru Team enjoying a laugh with a local community member, known affectionately as "Mama T"
Every Picture Tells a Story
1st place, Every Picture Tells a Story: Ashley Cao ’23
Payung Perak – Yogyakarta, Indonesia
This photo was taken shortly after the streets of Kotagede were flooded during rainy season. On this particular day, I neglected to bring an umbrella or jacket with me to service, so I was stranded under the awning of a stranger's house, unable to navigate the alleyways back home in the heavy downpour. I texted my host mother with the last percentage of my phone battery, unsure if the message had even gone through, but sure enough, she appeared, flood water to her thighs, two umbrellas and her own sandals in hand, heartily laughing at my silliness in forgetting the rain. We took cover together as the storm picked up, eating fried snacks and chatting about the cleaning that would have to be done once the rain stopped. On the way home, my host mother walked in front of me, large silver umbrella nearly covering her entire figure. But this picture in my mind has always seemed an apt description of her role in my experience abroad. Looking back, I find that most of my favorite memories of Bridge Year come from times I spent with her: watching soap operas with our fourteen cats, gaining her trust in experimental cooking, learning cutwork to help her embroidery, and mostly sharing laughs, tears and honest, open words. She was, and continues to be a consistent light, warmth, and source of comfort, caring for me as though I am truly her daughter despite the distance and time now spent apart.
2nd place, Every Picture Tells a Story: Jamie Mercurio ’20
Overcoming the Berlin Divide – Berlin, Germany
I met Matthew Link at a hostel in Berlin, Germany, as we both happened to stay there for a night while traveling around Europe during an academic break. As it turned out, we both had German roots - but as we got to talking, I discovered that his family had been in the east part of the city during the days of the Berlin Wall, while mine had been on the western side. While exploring the city, we found this old section of the wall still standing, and decided to take a picture to symbolize the reunion of East and West Berlin. I left the city feeling proud of my cultural heritage and having made a good friend - yet the most shocking part of the experience was yet to come! Having sent the photo home, my grandmother recognized Matthew and his name- as my grandparents had actually helped the Link family escape to West Berlin back in the 1970s. It reminded me that although we live in a world of 7 billion+ people, we truly are all connected - sometimes in ways we almost cannot believe!