Student talent showcased at photography exhibition

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Mark Melham won Best in Show with his image, "He said He Wasn't Cold" in the 2017 Peter MacKeith Memorial Photography Exhibition: Ascension. The image is of his brother, Tim Melham and was taken on his cell phone in Star Valley, WY. Photo courtesy of Mark Melham. Photo credit: Mark Melham

Student photography took center stage at the Peter MacKeith Exhibition Friday night. Twenty-five finalists were chosen out of the contest entries to be published in this year’s exhibition catalog, and their photographs will remain on display in Arctic Java through spring break.

The exhibition is an annual juried photo competition that’s free to enter for all members of Nanook nation from students to faculty. Each year the competition has a new, adventurous theme. This year’s theme of ascension brought out some exciting entries from the student body, such as Mark Melham’s photograph “He said He wasn’t Cold.”

“[I] was fortunate enough to get a shot of him. [My brother] did all the work,” Melham said. He went on to describe how he felt the photograph showed a side of his brother few others got to see.

The photo depicts Melham’s brother shortly after being blasted in the face with snow. The pair had been taking a walk in temperatures so cold, Mark had to keep his cellphone insulated against his chest in order to prevent the battery from dying.

“The thing I really like about it, is it allows people to see him the way I do,” Melham Said, “He generally comes across as a homeless stranger that will steal your baby for crack money. In the photo, it’s much more apparent who he is.”

The candid picture easily won Best in Show according to the exhibition juror Seth Adams.

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Mark Melham (left) receives the Best In Show Award from juror Seth Adams (right) at The 2017 Peter MacKeith Memorial Photography Exhibition: Ascension opening reception for his photograph, ‘He Said He Wasn’t Cold.' Tauseef Mahmood/ Staff Photographer. Photo credit: Tauseef Mahmood

“The best in show award was a fairly easy choice for me,” Adams said while presenting the Best in Show Award. “I just liked it a lot.”

He felt similarly towards the two photographs that received Honorable Mentions titled “Freedom” and “Pyromaniacs.” Both were taken by Javed Miandad.

“I found both of these images very visually captivating,” Adams said during the awards ceremony. “I had a hard time stopping looking at both of them.”

“I like to shoot people and their lifestyle,” Miandad said. “Most of my photographs are shot during travelling. ‘Freedom’ was shot in Pokhara, Nepal back in 2013. I was cycling through the countryside in Pokhara and saw this girl playing swing in front her house.”

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"Freedom" photographed by Javed Miandad in Pokhara, Nepal. Miandad won both honorable mention awards at the 2017 Peter MacKeith Photography Exhibition: Ascension. Photo courtesy of Javed Miandad. Photo credit: Javed Miandad

His other award winning piece “Pyromaniacs” was taken during his undergraduate studies at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. The photograph depicts a group of students performing fire breathing, for the entertainment of the others.

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"Pyromaniacs" photographed by Javed Miandad in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Miandad won both Honorable Mention Awards at the 2017 Peter MacKeith Memorial Photography Exhibition: Ascension for two of his images in the show. Photo courtesy of Javed Miandad. Photo credit: Javed Miandad

The Venue’s Choice Award, selected by Arctic Java staff, was given to Lindsey Parkinson for her photograph titled “Alaskan Autumn.”

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Lindsey Parkinson won the Venue's Choice Award at the 2017 Peter MacKeith Memorial Photography Exhibition: Ascension with her panorama, "Alaskan Autumn" which she photographed off the Richardson Highway just south of Fairbanks. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Parkinson. Photo credit: Lindsey Parkinson

The People’s Choice award was decided based on the votes of visitors to the showcase. It was won by Sarah Manriquez for her photograph titled “Arctic Crust”.

The photo was taken on an iPhone during a guided tour headed for the Arctic Circle. There had been a huge storm the day before which had left the trees completely encased in a thick covering of snow, allowing tourists to easily climb over them during the tour.

“I love the way that hard snow looks encased on trees and things,” Manriquez, photo editor at the Sun Star, said while recalling the moment. “I was like, this is going to be a great image. So I decided to snap it really quick.”

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"Arctic Crust" photographed by Sarah Manriquez at mile 49 off of the Dalton Highway. Manriquez won the People's Choice award at the 2017 Peter MacKeith Photography Exhibition: Ascension. Photo Courtesy of Sarah Manriquez. Photo credit: Sarah Manriquez

The event included an award ceremony, food and a live musical performance by Joseph and Lily Ransdell-Green’s band The Vocal Cords.

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Lily Randell-Green (left) and Joseph Randell-Green (right) of The Vocal Chords gave a live performance during the opening reception of The 2017 Peter MacKeith Memorial Photography Exhibition: Ascension at Arctic Java on Friday, March 3. Tauseef Mahmood / Staff Photographer. Photo credit: Tauseef Mahmood

The show winners will be featured in Clarity Magazine in addition to receiving a free copy of this year’s Catalog.

“I cannot thank Sarah, Kat and Miles for all the hard work they put in for the members [of Frozen Lenses],” Melham said of the club.

Any student interested can join Frozen Lenses for $15 a semester. Meetings are held every Thursday at 6 p.m. in room 313 in the Bunnell building.

The Peter Mackeith Exhibition is supported by an endowment fund created in the memory of Peter MacKeith, a UAF doctoral student in the late 1970s known for his talent as a photographer. In the summer of 1980 he tragically lost his life when he fell during an attempted ascent of Old Snowy, a peek in the Delta Range. He was only 30 years old. In his will he stated that he wanted to support student photography, so an endowment fund was created in his honor to benefit photography at UAF.

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