"What is Culture?" Photo Contest 

This annual contest promotes cross-cultural awareness and international study.  The photos are on display in Memorial Library lobby until the end of fall semester. 

Congratulations to the top three finalists of the 2015 “What is Culture?” contest, 1st place Ethan Norton, 2nd place Olivia Paige and 3rd place Morgan Benson!  

Contest Winner

1st place - "Parisian Street Performer" by Ethan Norton

This moment was captured atop the Montmartre, the tallest point in Paris. The Montmartre is home to the famous Basilique du Sacré-Cœur as well as an unparalleled view of the city below. Frequented by tourists and locals alike, visitors can enjoy the best of Parisian street performers in the late afternoon. This picture captures one of the city’s most talented performers: a man who can juggle a soccer ball while performing amazing stunts and unbelievable acrobatics. Hanging from streetlights or standing on his hands, his routine has awed thousands of people and is a small part of what makes Paris a hub of culture!

Contest Winner 2nd

2nd Place - “Monsoon Season” by Olivia Paige

“How often does it flood like this?” I ask the young man as he rides past on his scooter. “About once a year but we get by.” While I was interning abroad this summer the monsoon rains flooded the busy metropolis that is Mumbai. A city of over 9 million people came to an unthinkable halt when rainwater filled the city streets to waste level and stopped the trains and taxis. I was shocked to find out that the city experiences flood waters annually. Even more shocking was the level of damage it caused the street shops and apartment homes. I explored my neighborhood with my camera and found that many had come outside to enjoy the day off of work or school. Smiling children splashed and played in the dirty street water. I was heartened to find that owners of cars were offering lifts to those who were stranded. Mumbai is such a big, bustling city that it can feel isolating and like no one cares about the passerby or their neighbors. This day was a reminder that the people in Mumbai do care about one another and are willing to lend a helping hand. The rains were a blessing in disguise and a break from the hectic work week schedule. This day showed the true culture of Mumbai: one that understands the importance slowing down, stopping to share a smile, and helping others in need. The subject of this photograph is a young man who didn’t let the flood waters stop him from giving people a lift on his scooter. In the background you can see a truck owner giving rides to groups of stranded commuters. “You don’t mind the rains?” I ask, surprised. “In monsoon season, the city comes alive.” he responds.

Contest 3rd Place

3rd place -“The Children of the Incas” by Morgan Benson

During my study abroad this summer in Peru, I was able to fully immerse myself in the Peruvian culture and language. Especially, in Cusco, the birthplace of the Incas, tradition is an integral part of the peoples’ lives. The picture showcases the traditional clothing of Peruvians and of the past Incas. This clothing is purely handmade in Cusco by the women of the city. With the technique of looming still being passed down from generation to generation, the vivid colors and designs represent aspects of the Incan religion and focus on the worship of the heavens and the Earth. In the complexity of looming each individual color, the women of Cusco allow for a simple way to remember their ancestors of the past. Even as children, the girl and boy in this picture are being taught about their ancestors and the way, in which they lived all through the clothing that they wear. Hopefully when this little girl and little boy grow older, they will do the same for their children, keeping the Incan traditions alive.

See the rest of the submissions on Google + or Facebook.