4th Annual Photo Contest Announcement

Deadline: TBA (2015)
Theme: An Anthropological Perspective
Contest Instructions (PDF)


Department of Anthropology Photo Contest

The Department of Anthropology holds an annual photo contest organized around the theme of “An Anthropological Perspective.” We believe that an anthropological perspective changes the way you experience the world around you. Perhaps you begin to observe the way that holidays reinforce shared values, or notice the material culture that surrounds you, or view the diversity of human forms through an evolutionary perspective. Whatever it might be, we invite you to submit photos that show us how anthropology has shaped what you see.

The photo contest is held each fall semester, and is open to all Fort Lewis College students and staff. Instructions and submission deadlines are posted here on our website. The winning entries receive a cash prize and (along with entries earning an “honorable mention”) are exhibited on the second floor of the Center of Southwest Studies. Previous winning entries can be seen below.

Diné Club photo

Winner 2014: Diné Club, by Fidel Estevanio Frank

Location: Durango, Colorado, USA

This photo is one of many from my first photo shoot with Diné Club at Fort Lewis College. As an artist, who happens to be Native American, I like to incorporate that cultural aspect into what I photograph. I am Diné, commonly referred to as "Navajo," but I really just like taking pictures that showcase the natural beauty of the world around me. In my portfolio, I have photos of Native students shown in a positive light, which differs from the negative portrayals of Native Americans as "popularized" in the media for so long. My goal is to show that there is still some hope in working past some of the damage caused by colonization, which affects the land and people that live on reservations. I did not grow up in a traditional home, but I am taking as many opportunities I can to learn about my heritage, which is one way that I believe anthropology shows me to see the world around me.

Resurrecting Jimi by Baley Springmeyer

Winner 2013: Resurrecting Jimi, by Baley Springmeyer

Location: Venice Beach, California, USA

This photo was taken while I was walking around the Venice Beach boardwalk in Southern California. The boardwalk is a thriving community of musicians, artists, tiny shops, and marijuana dispensaries. I walked up to this man painting on a canvas made up of abandoned pieces of wood and nails; I could not believe how realistic Jimi Hendrix looked. 

I feel that anthropologists have a tendency to focus on exotic cultures in far off lands but fail to take a step back and see their own culture changing, living, and breathing right before them. Material culture is being made every second, around every corner, all around the world. Watching a painting come alive on recycled wood in Southern California is just as fascinating as watching the weaving of a textile in Peru or finding a spear point at an archaeological dig. Sometimes it is hard to remember to look at your neighbor or someone on the street and realize you are constantly observing a culture. Mahatma Gandhi once said “a nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” So go ahead, take a look at the people around you and see what you learn. 

Garifuna Fishermen by Zachary Gerdts

Winner 2012: Garifuna Fishermen, by Zachary Gerdts

Location: Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

There are few things more fascinating than observing a culture in its traditional state. This photo was taken in the Cayos Cochinos, a small group of islands just off of the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Though the area is a national bio-preserve, the indigenous Garifuna people who inhabit one of the small islands are permitted to live as they always have, depending on the sea for their livelihood. Staying with a Garifuna family and observing the traditional lifestyle of the small community was a truly anthropological experience.