Lehigh University
Lehigh University


South Side inspires student photos

Will Rackley '11 won the My South Side Photo Contest with this picture of the former Bethlehem Steel site.

Will Rackley ’11 inched as close as legally possible to the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill and knelt on the ground in order to include some grass in the foreground of his picture. This, he says, was to add character to the image and “capture the steel mill in a way no one has managed to before.”

True to form, Rackley, an All-American football player, was in it to win it. The photograph was a crucial element to his final portfolio for his photography class, but Rackley also intended to submit it to the My South Side Photo Contest organized and sponsored by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

The contest was intended to encourage Lehigh students to discover their artistic side and show the real beauty in South Bethlehem. Rackley, a design arts major and an offensive lineman on the football team, chose to do the steel mill because of its prominent historical impact on the town.

It was a big week for Rackley: His performance in college football’s 86th annual East-West Shrine Game, the nation’s oldest collegiate all-star game, had raised eyebrows and upped the possibility of Rackley being selected in the upcoming NFL draft.

To top off the week, his representation of the steel mill won first place in the photography contest. The sepia color combined with the through-the-weeds view gave the picture a historical feel that gripped the viewer’s attention.

Jennifer Thibault ’11 won second place with her extended-exposure shot of the corner of East 5th and Webster Streets showing the Campus Square D parking lot and roadway, as well as a portion of the corner house. Her picture was taken during the big snowstorm of 2010. She took the photo out of her bedroom window, she says, to allow inspiration to come to her as the image changed. The blur of headlights in the snow, combined with the twilight colors of the sky, made for a magnificently color-schemed photograph.

Kwesi Kankam '11 won third prize for his atmospheric photo of shops on New Street at night, which Kankam says “describes the South Side’s attitude.”

The winning photos and some of the other submissions can be viewed online.

A total of 31 photos were submitted. Prize winners received gift certificates to three local businesses—Goosey Gander, Tallarico's Chocolates and Deja Brew.

Videos of the students explaining how they took their photographs can be seen on Lehigh's youtube.com channel.

Story by Maxine Mendelovici

Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2011

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