Nighttime in Columbia

CMM student photography contest

Congratulations to the winning photograph, entitled “State of Reflection,” taken by Kristen Clark, 21, who is majoring in visual communications and minoring in media arts.

USC School of Journalism

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an old, familiar adage. When invited to participate in a Columbia Metropolitan Magazine photography contest, University of South Carolina photography students took that statement to heart. For their visual communications portfolio class project in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, professor Van Kornegay asked 20 senior students to study Columbia and then take images of the city at night, using high resolution digital cameras. Since this project was prompted by the photography contest for CMM, he asked them to study the nuances of the photography by Robert Clark and Jeff Amberg, frequently featured in our magazine, to learn about shooting for a publication. For this “Night Lights” project, the students practiced skills such as long exposure times that required tripods and remote shutter triggers.

Van, who is visual communications sequence head associate professor, shares that the word “photography” loosely translates into “writing with light.” Therefore, the featured nighttime images of this photo essay convey how artificial light illuminates a subject and gives it a different perspective. “Colors pop, shadows go black, and the signs of life become a ghostly blur in these nighttime images of Columbia, where the only things that clearly resolve are subjects that hold still and let their lights shine,” he says.

While the submissions from all 20 students are outstanding, CMM selected our favorite six photos, taken by six different students, to feature in this photo essay. We extend a special congratulations to Kristen Clark, who took the winning photo of the State House, entitled “State of Reflection.”


This photograph by Angie Jackson, a visual communications major from Fort Mill, South Carolina, is called “Bowling.”


Rebecca Sisk, 23, a visual communications major from Laurens, South Carolina, took this photo, called “Night Eye.”


Rachel Davis, 22, a visual communications major from Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed this photo called “Mainly Architecturally Appealing.”


“Winter Bench” was taken by Garrett Owen, 24, a visual communications major from Atlanta, Georgia.


“Night Walks along the River,” by Sarah Hinckley, 21, from Raleigh, North Carolina

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