Three Israeli students have reached the finals in Google’s Photography Prize competition, beating out more than 20,000 students worldwide who entered the contest. The finalists’ work will be displayed at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London for a month-long exhibit beginning April 25. The grand prize winner will be announced on April 24.
The photo competition began about five months ago, with a deadline to submit photos by January 31. Students from around the world were invited to participate by sharing what they consider to be their best work with other Internet surfers worldwide through the Google+ platform. The international panel of seven judges narrowed down the competition to a top 100 shortlist, all of whom won a Galaxy Nexus smartphone. The top 10 finalists’ names were posted on Google’s blog shortly afterward.
The three Israelis among the top ten finalists are Dana Stirling, 22, from Ma’aleh Adumim, a third-year photography student at Hadassah College in Jerusalem; Sasha Tamarim, 25, a third-year student of photographic communications at Hadassah College who immigrated to Israel in 1995; and Adi Sason, 25, a student of photography and digital media at Sapir College of the Negev, who lives in student housing on Kibbutz Sa’ad.
“I found out about the Google competition through hearsay and through friends,” Stirling said. “I didn’t think I had a chance of winning because it is an international competition involving big names like Google and Saatchi. It’s like being a tiny grain of sand in the desert. But I submitted a project that very night that I had photographed during my second year of school. At the start of the project, I tried to recreate or resurrect childhood memories from places that I knew well. Slowly I understood that I wasn’t actually trying to recreate, but rather to create a reality that maybe existed but maybe didn’t. It is present in my personal memory anyway and I was expressing it through photography. I created new memories for myself and casted them onto my childhood; I don’t necessarily remember it.”
Tamarin said that he is very committed to the photographic medium, in which he has invested most of his time and energy in recent years. “I heard about the Google Photography Competition after receiving an invitation from the college. I appreciate this opportunity so much because we are having a tough time finding competitions that don’t require an entry fee or don’t judge work according to the number of social network recommendations one gets.”
Sason’s photographs are part of a broader project documenting nights on Kibbutz Sa’ad, a religious kibbutz located near the Gaza Strip. “Night after night, I wander through the serene pathways of the kibbutz, amazed at the contrast between the noise of daily life and the night’s silence. The silence assumes a central place, pushing other things aside and revealing a hidden life. Night photography adds a perspective and different significance to things. Time is meaningful, and slow shifts over time leave their mark.”
The Google Photography Prize competition is open to students over age 18 around the world who are currently studying in institutions of higher education. They can submit up to eight images in the format of a public Google+ profile. By uploading pictures to the profile, students became competitors; the photos are publicly available on Google+ here.
Source: Israel Hayom