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Photo contest showcases hobby photographers: Winning works will hang in graduate student lounge

First place award-winning photograph by Lisa Manne

A beautiful landscape photograph of a rock arch carved by nature, along with four other equally impressive photos, have found a permanent home in the newly-renovated graduate students’ lounge.

The dramatic photo of a natural-rock arch in a Utah national park, taken by Professor Dudley Williams of zoology and environmental science, is one of five winning photographs in a contest held by the Graduate Students’ Association at Scarborough (GSAS).

More than 80 photos by students, faculty or staff were submitted for the contest. The winners were chosen by popular vote during a reception to inaugurate the new lounge. The five winning shots will be blown up in size, framed and permanently displayed in the renovated graduate student lounge in the campus’s Science Wing.

The renovation involved repainting the room, adding a small serving kitchen, putting in some new couches and bistro-styled tables and chairs and a large-screen television with a DVD player. A large projection screen with a wireless computer connection has also been installed. The renovations were done with financial help from the Department of Life Science and the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences.

“So the lounge can now double as a seminar room and the students can use it to practice presentations,” said Catherine Febria, a co-vice-president with the graduate student association at Scarborough. “It’s just an updated, fresher look. The space is more usable and we can seat more people. There are more and more grad students each year at Scarborough campus, and now it’s a nicer space for students and staff to use.”

The photos will make the lounge even more attractive.

“The renovation opened up a lot of wall space and to mark the opening of the lounge and get started on decorating the walls, we held the contest,” said Febria. “Creativity was encouraged and the photos could be anything under the sun.”

After attending a conference in Salt Lake City in fall 2004, Williams, a biology professor at, took a day to explore nearby Arches National Park where he snapped his memorable photo of the arch. The photo tied for second place in the contest.

“It’s sandstone so it weathers fairly rapidly and that’s why the arch gets this dramatic sculpturing,” said Williams.

Zoology professor Lisa Manne’s shot of a green beetle on a green leaf earned first place in the contest. A photo of Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, taken by Fefe Wong from human resources, tied with Williams’ arch for second place.

A picture of water droplets on a pussy willow, taken on campus by visiting graduate student Ralf Verdonschot, earned third place and Professor John Kennedy’s shot of a person who looks to be walking on water won fourth place.

Verdonschot was out walking on the Scarborough campus early one morning this spring when he was able to capture the shot of the pussy willow. “It was still really cold and pussy willows don’t absorb rainwater. So that’s why you see the little drops like pearls on the outside of the bud,” said Verdonschot, a grad student from Wageningen University, in The Netherlands, who’s at Scarborough working on a research project studying mosquitoes.

© University of Toronto Scarborough