Alumnus wins top prize in Microsoft photography contest

Paul Van Hoy II ’06 (MFA, imaging arts) received the grand prize in the Microsoft Future Pro Photographer Competition, besting a field of 15,600 entries submitted by student photographers from 90 countries.

Van Hoy’s winning image, Apocalyptic Summer, was taken in Rochester in the summer of ’06. The prize package carries a $20,000 cash award and a digital workflow package valued at $5,000.

“I’m a portrait photographer, a hunter/gatherer of forms, faces and expressions,” says Van Hoy. “I am most interested in vulnerability and rare moments of discontinuity in which defining moments materialize and disintegrate almost simultaneously. For me, this is what street photography is all about. Interaction with strangers through an image capture device changes the dynamic of an already ambivalent relationship. It is crucial that the photographer be improvisational not only on a technical level, but his or her spontaneity should also extend to the persuasions necessary to gain the momentary trust of a desired subject.”

Van Hoy’s work has been published in various photographic magazines, including CMYK Magazine, Photographer’s Forum, Professional Photographer, Camera Arts and Creative Quarterly. He operates his own commercial photography business, Fotoimpressions, in Rochester while also working as an educator and exhibiting artist.

A native of Evansville, Ind., Van Hoy received a bachelor of art degree in graphic design from the University of Southern Indiana.

To view Paul’s work, visit

The University Magazine, Winter 2007-2008