Student Wins International Photo Essay Contest

The International Student Exchange Program awards Roanoke student first prize in a photo essay contest

Starting at age seven, Isaac Campbell '07 developed a passion for photography as he captured pictures of the wondrous night skies through a telescopic lens, also known as astrophotography.

Campbell, an environmental science major at Roanoke College, grew up in the city of Roanoke where he first took courses in photography and developed awareness for the environment.

"I love capturing famous sites from a different, unconventional perspective," Campbell says.

In the spring of 2006, Campbell, with his 35mm camera and Swedish grammar book in hand, traveled to Karlstad, Sweden where the International Students Exchange Program provided him the opportunity to experience a new lifestyle, culture and environment.

At the end of the semester, the ISEP challenges students to participate in a photo essay contest, where students match pictures they took while abroad with an essay of their choice. Students around the world enter this competitive contest to illustrate their own experiences; however, Campbell's photographic and written talents were better than the rest.

Campbell felt honored and excited to win, as he believes he took a different perspective than other contestants. He wanted to target students so that they may potentially embark on their own journey after seeing what he experienced.

"I wanted to place emphasis on how much I learned and, at the same time, motivate other students," Campbell says.

While taking courses in environmental studies at Karlstad University, Campbell says he not only enjoyed capturing the sites through photographs, but was intellectually stimulated by the school's seminars.

"The general education courses at Roanoke really prepared me intelligently to participate in all class discussions," Campbell says.

By simply having a liberal arts background, Campbell feels as though he was able to better understand how economics, logistics and sociology concerns all pertain to our environment.

"The world is not that big, but there are plenty of experiences for everyone to explore," Campbell says. He enjoyed the ability to pick up and travel to countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and many other places.

"Formal classroom education is important, but you learn just as much and probably more with the experiences I had," Campbell says.

Campbell has already applied to four graduate programs in Sweden for the fall. He plans to receive his masters and eventually his Ph.d, in environmental science, while concentrating in sustainable technologies and methods of permaculture.

When asked why he wants to venture back to Sweden, Campbell says, "Sweden has a high reputation for environmental practices. Plus, the tuition is free."

Campbell's Winning Photo-Essay