By: Mollie Lastovica
Orry Pratt and Kevin Fath, graduate students in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications have been recognized as winners of the 2012 Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture’s International Experience Photo Contest. The annual contest is intended to promote international experiences to students across campus and is judged by attendants of the Brazos Valley Worldfest.
“The contest was started to promote study abroad to students so that they could not just see pictures of other countries, but see pictures of where students and faculty have gone, through their eyes,” said Cathryn Clement, Coordinator for International Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Pratt took first in the People category with his photo, “Loaded Down.” Fath was first in the Miscellaneous category with his photo, “Dugout” and also placed third in the People category with his piece, “National Pride.”
In the summer of 2012, Pratt took a class that revolved around community, economic and agricultural development issues in Kenya. While there, he volunteered at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre and enjoyed taking photos of the kids during his free time.
“A few friends and I were walking around some villages and saw this boy pushing his bike home with a load of firewood,” Pratt said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to show others how Kenyan people live day in, day out.”
Pratt decided to enter “Loaded Down” in the Borlaug Photography Contest due to the photo’s simplicity and uniqueness.
“I think ‘Loaded Down’ embodies a normal scene of how everyday life is experienced throughout the developing world, not just Africa,” Pratt said. “Simple tasks such as gathering wood for a fire are a necessity, not just a choice. I think this photograph also reveals insights as to how young adults live in developing countries.”
Fath’s winning piece, “Dugout” was captured in Dhiam Dhiam, Jonglei State, South Sudan during his short visit to the region through the Borlaug Institute at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012.
“To me, ‘Dugout’ embodies, for better or worse, the declining links to ancient technology that remain in practice,” Fath said. “It also demonstrates the fragility of livelihoods in developing countries.”
Both Pratt and Fath disregard themselves as professional photographers, but consider photography as more of a hobby and enjoy capturing their unique, worldly experiences with a camera.
“Not everyone has the opportunity or the means to experience the world,” Fath said. “I am not a photographer … I am someone who carries a camera while doing photogenic work. [Being recognized] encourages me to keep doing the work I am doing and to share images of my experiences with others.”
Pratt views photography as a medium for initiating action and change in the world.
“While I don’t think my photography will ever impact the world, I hope to be able to convey to others the situations that normal people experience in developing countries every day,” Pratt said. “If I have inspired just one person to take action about a global issue, then I guess I have done my job.”
Undergraduate AGCJ students interested in photography can take AGCJ 380, agricultural photojournalism, while graduate students interested in visual communications can take ALEC 652, Images of Agriculture: Visual Communication Research.