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RIT student wins top White House photo award

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Chris Langer ’11

Chris Langer dropped everything while in line at Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina in RIT’s Global Village when he received a call from the White House News Photographers Association. Langer had suddenly become $1,000 richer and was about to add an impressive note to his résumé and portfolio.

Langer, a fourth-year photojournalism major, has been named the White House News Photographers Association Student Photographer of the Year—and the first RIT student to win the prestigious award.

Langer was honored at the annual “Eyes of History” gala May 14 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists as well as the president of the United States.

The White House News Photographers Association 2011 Eyes of History competition recognizes photographic excellence and visual artistry in still, video, new media and student categories. In addition to the gala invitation, Langer receives a monetary award from the association, a $1,000 scholarship to any Momenta workshop and the opportunity to have his work showcased across the country in a traveling exhibit.

“I submitted eight single pictures and a photo story about my father who lost his job two years ago,” explains Langer. “My work is oriented with what is happening in the United States because there are important stories here that are not being told.”

“Langer’s portfolio is tightly edited and concise,” says student contest judge Sarah Voisin of the Washington Post. “All of these images are interesting and compelling; there are no out-of-place photos. We are pleased to see this student making great images through simple everyday events close to home.”

In addition to Voisin, the judges included White House News Photographers Association members John Poole of National Public Radio and freelance photographer Chris Usher.

The judges also commented on Langer’s ability to illustrate a difficult idea and they commended him for choosing a timely news topic.

Langer, of Russell Township, Ohio, has also been recognized as RIT’s Reporter magazine’s 2010 Photographer of the Year and has won numerous categories in RIT’s National Press Photography Association Chapter “What We Do Show.”

“I will be graduating in May, so the gala was a great networking and recognition event,” says Langer. “With nearly 1,000 guests attending, there were presidents from Nikon and all the big news agencies.”

This summer, Langer will be working as a photography intern with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. As for his winnings, Langer plans to start developing another area of interest—documentary filmmaking.

“I have already purchased some expensive audio equipment for my documentary videos,” says Langer. “I can see myself doing both photography and documentary film.”

To see more of his award-winning photos, go to and


Chris Langer ’11


Chris Langer ’11

In 2010, RIT psychology major Manathan Lawrence washes his face before leaving RIT’s Mud Tug. RIT student Chris Langer included the image in his submission to the White House News Photographers Association 2011 Eyes of History competition.