White House News Photographers Association Awards Top Honor to RIT Student

Chris Langer named student photographer of the year; award gala May 14

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Chris Langer

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

Chris Langer, a fourth-year photojournalism major from Rochester Institute of Technology, has been named the White House News Photographers Association Student Photographer of the Year. He is the first RIT student to win this prestigious award.

Langer will be honored at the annual “Eyes of History” gala on May 14 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and honors the president of the United States. The WHNPA was formed in 1921 by photographers who covered the activities of the president and the White House.

The WHNPA 2011 Eyes of History competition recognizes photographic excellence and visual artistry in the still, video, new media and student categories. In addition to the gala invitation, Langer receives a $1,000 award from the WHNPA, a $1,000 scholarship to any Momenta workshop and the chance 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 were White House News Photographers Association members John Poole of NPR and freelance photographer Chris Usher.

The judges also thought Langer did an excellent job illustrating a difficult idea and they commend him for choosing a timely news topic. They said he was able to show emotion through a series of quiet, yet interesting and compelling images.

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 is going to be a great networking and recognition event,” says Langer. “With nearly 1,000 guests attending, there will be presidents from Nikon and all the big news agencies. President Barack Obama is even expected to make an appearance.”

To see more of his award-winning photos, go to www.whnpa.org/contest/eyes2011/students/poy/01/ and www.chrislanger.com.