International Photo Contest: the stories behind the images

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It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But there are at least a thousand words that can tell the story behind a photo. Such is the case with this year’s UVU International Photo Contest.

The contest is in its sixth year, but it is the first time the winning photos will be featured in a calendar. It will be available for $5 at the end of November at the International Center. The winning photos are on display on the art wall in the Student Center until Nov. 30.

While the photos themselves are beautiful and interesting, so are the stories behind them.

Tempestt Turman was able to catch many beautiful photos during her time in Italy with the UVU study abroad program.

“It was a perfect, magical, doesn’t-really-happen type of moment. He was just sitting there as he is in the picture,” Turman said of the winning photo, “Man’s Best Friend.” Turman also won honorable mention for four other photos taken of people in Italy. She added, “There was an emotional connection with them. If I didn’t have my camera, I may have walked passed them without noticing them, but because I had my camera, I was able to connect with them.”

The story behind second place winner Mike Bunds’ photo is somewhat symbolic.  Bunds was in Nepal studying the sources of arsenic in the local drinking water. He and his group had been rafting down the Ganges for almost two weeks.

“It was the last night on the river and the sun was setting and there were children playing and fishing on the river with bamboo fishing poles,” said Bunds. The sunset seemed to symbolize the end of their time on the river, a water source that they had been trying to better understand and improve for the children playing at its banks.

“Egyptian Window,” an honorable mention photo by Danny Horns, was captured on a train ride from Alexandria to Cairo. Horns was traveling to Cairo to teach as part of the semester at sea program. Along the way,The train had an unexpected stop in a small town for unknown reasons.

There were two girls playing the entire time the train was stopped, just having the time of their lives, and “watching the world go by from their apartment window,” said Horns.

Brittany Morrill, another honorable mention winner for her photo entitled “Escuala,” captured her photo while working with a non-profit organization called Kaiizen.  The organization goes to Mexico a few times a year to work in orphanages and schools.

“We were teaching them about buoyancy,” said Morrill, “and the signs say sink or float.” The children were asked to predict if an object would sink or float when placed in water.

Louise Illes snapped her honorable mention, “Malian Girl with Baby,” in a small village in Mali.

“We were visiting with the village elder discussing how the local school was working and the children all came running to see what the ‘white’ people were doing,” said Illes. “This young girl allowed me to snap her photo near one of the village huts.”

Photographer Tempestt Turman felt an emotional connection with the people she photographed during her study abroad trip in Italy. Photo credit: Tempestt Turman

Photographer Tempestt Turman felt an emotional connection with the people she photographed during her study abroad trip in Italy. Photo credit: Tempestt Turman

A single moment can speak to the soul and tell a story. Whether that story is written or visual, stories connect us to the world around us. The winners of the International Photo Contest helped bring their stories from around the globe home to Utah. Through viewing their photos, a real human connection can be experienced, such as with Egyptian children and an old man and his dog in Italy.