Student wins Photographers Without Borders competition

Photographers Without Borders has chosen a photo by School of Journalism undergraduate Kevin Urgiles as the winner of its latest photo competition.

Urgiles, a junior journalism and anthropology major, took the photo of children playing in Madagascar while he was studying abroad there during the summer of 2015.

“They always remind me that friendship and laughter go a long way,” Urgiles wrote in his submission.

Photographers Without Borders is a nonprofit organization of photographers who document humanitarian and environmental conservation efforts around the world.

The organization has a photo competition for each issue of its magazine. The competition asks that entrants submit images that tell an inspirational story.

The winning photo is chosen based on the number of likes the photo gets on Instagram or the number of retweets it gets on Twitter.

“Fortunately I have some good friends, so a lot of people shared my picture,” Urgiles said.

He said he entered the competition because he is interested in Photographers Without Borders’ Global Program, in which the organization picks a photographer to travel to a country and document the work of a partner charity.

Although Urgiles said he doesn’t think he’s ready for the Global Program yet, he did want to try entering the photo competition.

“Hopefully that’ll put me on their radar,” he said.

Urgiles took the winning photo near the town of Ambodiaviavy after running down the steep, muddy hills in the area. He saw children playing with rice grass and singing near a river, and he decided to take photos of them.

He said buildings in the local area didn’t have many windows, so children didn’t see their reflections often. They would look at their reflections in the water.

“When you show them a high def picture of themselves, they get really excited,” Urgiles said. “I like showing kids their pictures because it just made me happy to see them happy.”

Urgiles said he’s proud of and excited about winning the competition.

“It’s a good step forward to what I want to do, which is visual storytelling,” he said.