(Photography by Gordon Lew, ’15)
Photographic memory
Award-winning student photographers tell the stories behind the images.
Each year more than 600 College students have the chance to study abroad. The College’s myriad offerings include Greek Antiquity in Athens, Social Sciences in Beijing, Middle Eastern Civilizations in Istanbul, Advanced French in Paris, and South Asian Civilization in Pune. Students can also apply for Foreign Language Acquisition Grants, which can be used anywhere in the world, or participate in programs offered by other institutions. For many students, documenting their experiences is almost as important as the experiences themselves. We asked the winners of the 2012–13 Study Abroad Photo Contest to tell us the stories behind their photographs.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1932","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Visitors at the Forbidden City First place
“Although it began as a quick intuition, I think the photograph is highly representative of China, both literally and symbolically. You see a microcosm of everyday Chinese life: the shapes and sizes of both men and women across the age spectrum, their style of dress, the uncanniness of their consistent orderliness but simultaneous informality in the public eye. The wall behind them shows the expected wear of 600 years—though its cracks are, of course, masked by a thick layer of paint. Seventeen people and a wall is a minuscule sample to take from a population of 1.3 billion and a fortress of nearly 1,000 buildings, but to me, at least, it can be a wide window into China.”—Gordon Lew, ’15  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1933","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] 26 Hours on the Amritsar Express Second place
“My traveling companion, Dake Kang, ’15, and I had decided to try to travel through India with as few resources as possible. This meant that instead of taking a two-hour plane ride, we paid $5 to ride for 26 hours in the lowest class accommodations on the Amritsar ExpressThis photo aptly conveys many of my favorite, sometimes bittersweet, memories on the Indian Railway: sleeping in semi-miserable conditions (next to the bars you see), interacting with families of all different backgrounds, moving at high and seemingly unregulated speeds (the motion blur of the tracks), and spending much of my time dangling out the doorway.”—Gene Lee, AB’13  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1934","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Awe at the Bodleian Library Third place
“The Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. I was milling around outside, excited to take a short tour. I turned to see a man in a red sweater standing apart from other passersby, apparently as awestruck as I felt, gazing up at the Tower of the Five Orders behind me. I snapped a picture, enjoying the fortuitous juxtaposition of man and statue.”—Andrea Rummel, AB’14  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1935","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Moray Terraces Honorable mention
The Incan terraces at Moray, near Cusco, Peru, were once used for farming. Photography by Andrea Nishi, AB’13.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"576","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] A Room with a View Honorable mention
“The photo was taken in a temple on the outskirts of Vijayanagar. We were there as part of our final civ class. I was taking a picture of the woman in the bright sari outside, and this little girl happened to walk out the doorway. The scene portrays how amazing, beautiful, and exotic India is at every moment. The people are just like us, they do boring daily activities and have fun just like us, and yet there is this real beauty in how simultaneously different and similar it all is. That probably doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to describe.”—Caety Klingman, ’15  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1937","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] That Night We Ate Well Honorable mention
“I took my photo at my French friend Tim’s apartment in the 15th arrondissement. He and my friend Alexa wanted to throw a dinner party, so they spent most of the day shopping for groceries at the outdoor markets and cooked up a wonderful meal complete with red wine, different types of cheese, and three courses. The experience was so quintessentially French. I learned to sit back and genuinely enjoy the simple things in life during my time in Paris.”—Janet Kwon, AB’14