Start of Main Content

To celebrate Kellogg MOSAIC week, the photography club arranged a photo contest during spring break focused on the theme, “Embracing Differences.” How Kellogg embraces its diversity and how its students immerse themselves in different cultures and places around the world inspired the theme.

This was the second year the club hosted the contest. We were looking forward to seeing the photos from everyone’s spring break experiences.

We divided the contest into two categories: DSLR submissions and Instagram photos with the hashtag “#KelloggMOSAIC.” We also added in another category for students who went on Global Immersion in Management (GIM) trips.

For this year, we were very fortunate to have great judges on board – Professor Julie Hennessy from Kellogg’s Marketing Department, Professor Zach Wise (a former award-winning interactive producer at The New York Times) from the Medill School of Journalism, Global Programs Associate Director Deborah Kraus and current student Jenni Yi ‘16. Each judge was selected to provide their insights on the pictures’ content, photography and diversity.

Once spring break ended, we were very excited to see all the photos from our Kellogg friends. We constantly explored the submissions on Instagram and were eagerly waiting for DSLR contenders to submit their photos.

It turned out that more than 300 photos were submitted on Instagram and more than 30 DSLR photos. The photos came from all over the world: China, Korea, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Namibia, Sudan, Peru, Israel, Korea, Argentina, Chile and more.

We had a great time going through all of the pictures, and it was really hard to select the shortlist. Some of the photos were so stunning that we could not believe our eyes, and we really wanted to meet the photographers.

On the day of contest, there were a lot of participants and we really had a great time listening to their experience and looking at their photos. The judges also said it was really difficult to choose the winners. We finished the event with a popular vote prize and let the audience pick their favorite photos.

See the winning photos below, the stories behind them and why the judges thought they stood out.

DSLR category

First Prize: Luke Liu


The photo was taken in the Namib desert on a trip by four students (three of them in the background) to Namibia. When the eye travels to the background it is stunned not to find the usual sky on the horizon, but rather what looks like a Martian backdrop. It actually is a giant sand dune. This, combined with the composition of the trees and people who are lost in the grandeur of nature, made this picture a clear winner.

Second Prize: Yi Zheng


This picture is from a trip to Bolivia and was taken at salt flats called Salar de Uyuni. This is a very popular shooting spot in South America, and the composition is strong. The only thing that the judges were missing were the people.

Third Prize: Jeronimo Prieto


This was taken on a Kellogg Scuba Club trip to the Revillagigedo Islands in Mexico. The photographer is not only a second-year student at Kellogg, but he also is an underwater film director of “Mexico Pelagico,” a movie for which he received the 2015 Director’s Award at San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. The picture is an amazing scene of two worlds meeting in the underwater kingdom.

Instagram category

First Prize: Ruben Navarro

IG 1

This was taken in the mountains of Patagonia in a place called Torres del Paine in the wee hours of the morning. The unusual picture with the mysterious woman in red caught our attention when we were picking finalists, and it went on to become the winner. This would have been a strong “postcard” without the figure, but the lady in red turns it into an unexpected spectacle.

Second Prize: John Closs

IG 2

The picture was taken in Northern Thailand and was dubbed “The Elephant Selfie” by the Photo Club. The unusual perspective stood out in a row of animal pictures. The shot was apparently taken during the hardest time of day – around 2 p.m. – when direct sunlight kills shadows and tries to make any picture flat. But the author avoided this danger by applying an unusual composition with most of the animal in the foreground.

Third Prize: Arantxa Gomez Castellanos

IG 3

This picture was taken in China. The photo composition works perfectly with the child in the foreground against the terraces of rice fields. The child’s face is artistically illuminated, bringing associations with characters of Rembrandt’s paintings. Professor Wise said that this picture is almost a “Visit China” photo and makes one want to visit the country immediately after seeing the picture.

GIM Category

First Prize: Danielle Wipperfurth


Here’s what the photographer says: “This photo was taken on the GIM China-Korea trip atop the Great Wall of China. It was a beautiful, clear sunny day (rare for Beijing!) and we were enjoying exploring the views and the different stretches of the wall. This portion of the Wall in the photo was a bit hard to find, and it is unique in that it hasn’t been restored.

To me, this image represents not only the success of having gone through a rigorous course and traveling together to China; it also represents the elation we as Kellogg students feel whenever we collaborate to achieve our goals.”

Debbie Kraus of Global Affairs liked how this picture conveys a sense of camaraderie and the subjects stopping to take in the moment, even though you can’t see their faces. Instead, their body language and the photo’s composition tells us that part of the story. The landscape looks so sparse, almost alien. It gives the photo a bit of an otherworldly look.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Ruffin


This photo was taken during a GIM China-Korea trip to the Old Town market area in Shanghai. The group chose the spot to take the picture because it was unique within the incredibly modern city of Shanghai, and, of course, the perspective is great!

The picture was picked because of the detailed architecture and vibrant colors in the background, and the subjects are really well placed in a way that captures all of them and the location. The man staring at the camera from behind the two students in the middle adds a bit of humor and connects the students to the scene happening around them. Finally, everyone in this photo just looks happy to be there!

Popular vote category: Sarah Degerman

Audience Favorite

Here is what Sarah had to say: “This photo was taken at a placed called “Laguna Colorada” in Bolivia. I did a three-day, two-night 4×4 jeep tour from Hito Cajon (Chilean/Bolivian border) to the Uyuni salt flats. Throughout the three days, I saw an incredibly vast array of stunning topographies and landscapes. This was one of my favorites, taken at the end of our first day on the tour. I was so impressed by how you could see so many different colors all in one scene – the red and blue water, the yellow and green terrain, the brown mountains in the distance, the light blue sky, and especially the pink flamingos, which were an unexpected sight in the middle of this random giant Bolivian lagoon.”

During the event, Professor Wise also shared some techniques and suggestions to take better and meaningful photos. We were really happy with the number of attendees for the event, we were glad that everyone enjoyed it and left with a better understanding of photography, and most importantly we’re glad they enjoyed the stories and photos from their classmates.

On behalf of the club, we would like to pay our gratitude to our judges, the Global Program and our friends who participated in the contest. We hope to see more photos again next year!

The Kellogg Photography Club