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Microsoft Pro Photographer Contest
Nic Rossmüller : August 20th 2006 - 21:15 CET
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MicrosoftMicrosoft Pro Photographer Contest : Brooks Institute announced today that Ho Young Choi, a recent graduate, was awarded first place honors in the category People & Portraits in Microsoft Corporation’s inaugural and groundbreaking Future Pro Photographer contest. Choi competed among more than 7,700 students from over 90 countries. It’s considered a landmark effort by the software maker and reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to photography and to its ongoing development of technology and services aimed at furthering the profession. Choi, who graduated in June 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Photography concentrating on Portraiture and Commercial Photography, entitles his award-winning entry ‘The Faces.’
Microsoft Pro Photographer ContestPhotography Contest - Portraits
“I tried to create an image that played with the tension between multiple subjects and one subject,” says Choi. “I took this approach because I like working with multiple textures and was fascinated by the strong emotion of my model.” He notes that in the final days of the competition, the Microsoft people did a good job of building anticipation in the student participants. “When I got the e-mail from Microsoft, they intentionally kept me in suspense by not identifying which of the four top awards I had won,” he says. “At the summit, I was of course hoping to win the grand prize. Even though I didn’t, it was certainly great winning the first place in the category People & Portraits, and it was wonderful to be at the reception, meet a lot of interesting people, and get a lot of useful information.”

Microsoft Pro Photography Contest - Prices
The Microsoft Grand Prize was awarded to Alin Popescu, from Bucharest, Romania, who received a $20,000 cash award and a software package valued at $8,000. The three first place winners, including Carly Short of Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology (Fine Art category), Yeang Ch’ng of Harvard University (Nature & Landscape), and Choi, were awarded $2,000 each.

Pro Photographer Microsoft photography Contest
Choi, who is from Seoul, Korea, was studying English language classes in the extension program of the University of California, Santa Barbara, when he attended a lecture by renowned photojournalist Steve McCurry. According to Choi, the chance encounter with McCurry was a turning point in his life, punctuated by viewing McCurry’s Afghanistan Girls, one is a series of photos taken in rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. This particular photo was published as a cover for National Geographic.

Brooks Institute - Microsoft Pro Photographer Contest
“He made me realize the power of portraying what one wants to say through photography,” states Choi, who attended Brooks Institute of Photography to explore this passion. “Brooks is a really excellent place to learn a wide variety of techniques.” He specifically remarks that one of his professors, Joyce Wilson, has been instrumental in helping him have the courage to pursue his own vision through photography.

About Brooks Institute of Photography
With campuses in Santa Barbara and Ventura, Calif., Brooks Institute of Photography has a 60-year legacy of providing world-class visual arts education. Brooks Institute offers Master of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Associate of Arts degrees and Diploma programs in the following fields of study – professional photography, visual journalism, film and video production and visual communication. Brooks’ graduates are visible nationally and internationally, working for distinguished organizations including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Los Angeles Times and other national media outlets, including Hallmark Publishing, Cousteau Society, HBO, Kodak and other industry leaders in visual media fields.

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