Spirit of Stanford headlined by Nemerov’s ‘What Is a Great Photograph’

Nov. 18, 2015, 5:34 a.m.

The Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Stanford (ACSSS) hosted an awards ceremony for its first photography contest on Monday. The entries were judged on how well they captured the spirit of Stanford on the eve of its 125th anniversary.

“Photography has this special power to give us an instant of our lives on Earth through the special sensitivity and passion of the photographer,” professor Alexander Nemerov, chair of the Department of Art & Art History, said to the crowd of Stanford students gathered at the Li Ka Shing Learning and Knowledge Center.

Nemerov was invited to give a speech titled: “What Is a Great Photograph?” He focused on Lewis Hine’s “Adolescent Girl, a Spinner, in a Carolina Cotton Mill” as an example of a great photograph.

“The thing that makes a truly great photograph that sings and moves us is the person with the camera,” Nemerov said.

After the speech he answered questions from the audience about their perspectives in photography.

There were three overarching categories — People’s Choice Award, Cell Phone Photography Award and the three overall top prizes to the best photographs. The prizes ranged from gift certificates to cash in shiny red envelopes to a ZTE Axon Pro cellphone. The ACSSS was able to provide these awards due to a collaborative effort with four sponsors.

The Print Lab Grand Award went to Tamer Shabani ’14, a transfer student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in environmental systems engineering. His small speech conveyed his love and dedication to photography, especially when it entails capturing the spirit of Stanford.

As the Grand Prize winner, Shabani showed yearning to embody the ideal photographer that Nemerov had described in his speech.

“At that moment when something is seen, when something is possible, the photographer has to seize all of her or his skill and passion and direct it to the task at hand,” he said.


An earlier version of this article said that Tamer Shabani is Class of 2015, instead of 2014. The Daily regrets this error. 

Contact Andrea Villa at acvilla ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Login or create an account