By: Patrick L. Smith

An SA-run photography contest may no longer be accepting submissions, but students will be seeing the results for months to come.

The Project Imagine contest, which challenged entrants to submit photos they’ve taken of their favourite moment of 2012-13, opened for submissions on Feb. 4 and closed on March 3.

There were about 130 entries at press time, said Social Media Community Officer Liz Babiak, who organized the contest alongside Outreach Coordinator Michael Kokich.

The Project Imagine contest saw a very positive reception, said Babiak, because of the accessibility of photography.

“A lot of smart phones these days have cameras that are just as good as another regular point-and-shoot,” she said. “There are certainly some students who have more dedicated cameras they might carry around, but … the best camera is the one you have on you.”

SA President David Corson agreed, citing the ease of participation as a key to the contest’s success.

“Sometimes, we’re too program-specific and we exclude people,” said Corson. “I think this is great because it allows anyone and everyone to participate.”

Although he admitted that photography students may have a slight advantage, Corson pointed out that being in a specific program wouldn’t get anyone very far in this contest.

“The judges don’t know where the entrants are from,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of information. They just have the actual picture.”

The panel of judges will be formed by five members, including representatives from the college itself, the SA and even some students.

“We thought that was really important because it is students sharing their own experiences, and their memories and favourite moments of the past year,” Babiak said. “Those memories have been with their fellow students in a large part so we thought it’d be important to involve them.”

The SA gave plenty of incentive to student photographers to enter, too. The best photo as determined by two rounds of judging will win its photographer a Canon T3 Digital SLR camera, with which Babiak hopes the students will continue to harness their creativity.

“We’ve been surprised every day with the new entries that have come in,” she said. “It’s been everything from some winter scenescapes to the autumn colours from last year to travels that people have had in the past year. It’s been really diverse.”

In addition to the grand prize, the top three photos will be printed on a 16×20 canvas and displayed in the Student Commons until April 19.

This reward was important to Corson and the SA because, in addition to recognizing the victors, the SA hopes that displaying the photos will provide more of a home-like feeling in the Commons.

“Even though we’ve got the floral arrangement and even though we’ve got the colour in the seats, there’s still a little institutionalization,” said Corson. “It’s not your living room – and it shouldn’t be – but it still felt like an institution and not a home, a comfortable place.”

For Corson, the college’s atmosphere plays a big role in the attitude they inspire, which is why he hopes the colour and skill on display make a lasting impact.

The ultimate goal for Corson and the SA is a Student Commons that everyone can enjoy. In what Corson calls the “honeymoon phase” of the Commons, their goal is to keep trying new things and keep the student body invested.