Two University of Louisiana Monroe students took award-winning photos in a competition by the College Media Association.

Saugat Shrestha and Prajal Prasai attended the College Media Association convention in New York City in March. Competing against colleges and universities from across the country, the ULM students placed second and third in the photojournalist "shoot out." 

Shrestha, a dual Communication and Computer Science major, placed second in the contest. Photographing in New York City has been a dream destination for Shrestha. His photograph depicts the emptiness of the subways as the city braced for COVID-19. 

"I was inspired by everything about the city, and I saw a story in everything," said Shrestha, describing his experience. 

Prasai, a Communication major, placed third in the contest with his photograph of an optimistic New Yorker. 

"Photojournalism is harsh and gritty in the sense that the photos don't necessarily represent all the nice and good things people love to see. It exists to show an honest depiction of life and the human condition that people ignore or can't see for themselves," said Prasai. 

Prasai credits his passion to the many mentors, professors, and friends who have guided him along his three-year photography journey. Both Prasai and Shrestha share appreciation for having the opportunity to photograph times like these and win awards for their work. 

Christopher Mapp, Ph.D., Director of Student Publications and Associate Professor of Communication, is proud of his students, who are members of The Hawkeye staff.

"Saugat and Prajal have been all over the world, so shooting in a place like New York City, they really understand what connects humanity. They have incredible eyes for things other people might miss and an intuition for that 'magic moment' all photographers seek. They really captured the hectic pace of New York while documenting the growing sense of isolation that was creeping in during those early days of the crisis," Mapp said.


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