CEU Student Among Top 10 Finalists in 2012 Google Photography Competition
CEU gender studies PhD student Claudia Alexandra Manta was recently named among the top 10 finalists in the Google Photography Prize 2012, a student photography contest judged by renowned artists and photographers and other leaders in the field. Manta's photos, recognized in the travel category, were taken at Vienna's Natural History Museum while she was on a CEU trip that was part of Professor Allaine Cerwonka's course, The Human and Posthuman. Most of Manta's winning photos feature animal life from replicas of ancient fish jaws to oversized flies.
“The space of the museum builds a narrative and immerses you in a strange and unfamiliar history with a sense of deep, generalized temporality of the living,” Manta says. It posits you as connected to it by virtue of breathing, feeding, and reproducing, despite humans never having lived during these times.” Manta says that people “get inspired by being shaken – by having their beliefs in what constitutes a human being shaken to the core.” Speaking for herself, she says that the exhibit challenged her to understand humans differently and gave her a feeling she wanted to capture. “I'm not the kind of person who walks around with a camera around my neck and I'm not an art student. But some things just strike me.”
While Manta’s photography is just a hobby, preparing for her PhD studies is the equivalent of a full-time job. Her interest in the history of sciences in 17th- and 18th-century Europe—particularly physiology and the concept of sensibility within French erotic novels—builds partially on her master's thesis that dealt with the biopolitics of sexual experimentation in the novels of Marquis de Sade.
Manta, originally from Romania, and the other nine finalists won a trip to London in April to see their work displayed at the Saatchi Gallery in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition "Out of Focus: Photography" that features images from well-known photographers. To see all the winning photos visit http://www.google.com/landing/photographyprize/winners.html.
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