Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley in Edwards
CMC Professional Photography Students Win International Awards
Students in the Professional Photography Program at Colorado Mountain College have a history of earning national and international recognition for their work behind the lens.
In the last seven years, 15 students have earned accolades in the annual College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards. This includes two 2018 winners, Stephanie Stocking and Dustin Gregory, who took home awards in the Interpretive Eye and Illustration categories.
This year's contest received nearly 10,000 images and multimedia projects entered by 550 student photographers from 126 colleges and universities in 17 countries.
“It’s rewarding,” said CMC Photography Professor Derek Johnston, “to see our students succeed like they have.”
Find Your Confidence
Stephanie Stocking's image, 'Cisco Remains', won the Silver Award in the Interpretive Eye Category. The image features the relics of the once inhabited town of Cisco, Utah. It provides visitors a glimpse at the effects of economic downturn, the decline of the locomotive, and the construction of the nearby Interstate 70 that bypasses the town.
“I love seeing our small school go head to head with large art schools around the world,” Stocking said of the award. “It has given me a small bit of confidence and motivated me to start putting my work out there more.”
Dustin Gregory won an Award of Excellence for his photo illustration, 'Layers of Time: Day to Night in Canyonlands.' The image is a conceptual composite inspired by Stephen Wilkes Day to Night series. The image blends captures taken over a two-day period. The base image contains the storm cloud/rainbow and the night sky and lightning strikes were captured on adjacent evenings.
“It always feels good to get positive feedback on your work - especially in global competition,” Gregory said, adding the win is a small step on a much larger career journey.
“So, it’s back to square one and trying to get better every day”
Hard Work Pays Off
Alumna Guadalupe Laiz knows that journey having been a former CPOY winner and a 2014 graduate of the Professional Photography Program. After doing some freelance work for five years, Laiz recently signed a book deal for her work on the horses of Iceland and she opened a gallery in Aspen.
Her advice to prospective students: “take advantage of everything the school has to offer,” including the college’s affordability and expert faculty.
“Appreciate and listen to the teachers, who have years of experience and knowledge,” noted Laiz. “Focus and work very hard,”
Johnston added the goal of the photography program is to prepare students to succeed in a competitive field.
“If you can make a living as a photographer,” he said, “I call that a success.