Stanford Global Studies photo contest showcases student experiences

Quarantine Birthday Portrait in Gold
Grand Prize winner: Quarantine Birthday Portrait in Gold by PhD candidate Jasmine Reid

Stanford Global Studies (SGS) has unveiled the winners of its 10th annual photo contest. Each year, the competition celebrates the creative talents of student photographers affiliated with SGS’s 14 centers and programs.

More than 80 photos, captured in locations across the United States and around the world, were entered into six categories: the natural world, people, photojournalism, travel, animals and hometown love.

JASMINE REID, an anthropology PhD candidate affiliated with the Center for African Studies, won the grand prize for her image Quarantine Birthday Portrait in Gold. The stunning self-portrait encapsulates the spirit of the past year.

“As a travel photographer, I photograph myself in different settings not only to create a memory but also to reflect back to myself the new things I’ve learned about myself during my travels. A year into quarantine, without any international travel on the books and after a year of increased anti-Blackness, I wanted to take a new kind of portrait,” said Reid.

She continued: “I made this portrait in my apartment for my 30th birthday in March 2021. I refashioned into a headdress the ‘3-0’ metallic balloons I’d received as a birthday gift, and I surrounded myself with the 34 plants I’d acquired over the course of quarantine. Finally, I adorned myself with gold leaf to remind myself of the beauty of my Blackness, even when the world couldn’t always see it.”

Three Sands was taken in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, by history major Kyra Jasper, ’23.
Three Sands was taken in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, by history major Kyra Jasper, ’23.

Reid also took home a prize for her image of a winding road blanketed in fog in Pacifica. The photo was entered into the newly created “hometown love” category, which gave students an opportunity to highlight how they spent their time at home during the COVID-19 lockdown. “This photograph … holds for me both the calm and the anxiety of quarantine isolation,” she said.

The other winning shots, taken before the pandemic struck, were snapped in six countries from a variety of vantage points. The subjects include a herd of yaks resting near a lake in Shannan, Tibet, taken by international relations senior SERENA ZHANG; the reflection of a pine tree from a koi pond in Beijing’s Fragrant Hills Park, taken by history PhD candidate MICHELLE MENGSU CHANG; a pair of men deep in conversation at a café in Serbia, also taken by Michelle Mengsu Chang; wind turbines in Taiwan’s Gaomei Wetlands Area, taken by East Asian studies sophomore NICHOLAS WELCH; and an island in Eastern Indonesia famous for its sandy beaches, taken by history sophomore KYRA JASPER.

View the winning photos on the Stanford Arts website.