Baruch student wins second place in CUNY Photo Challenge

CUNY Photo

Courtesy of Kyle Ferguson

Alexandra Nita

Every month since 2012, each  student from across the 25 colleges of the City University of New York has the opportunity to wow a panel of its professional photographers, editors and graphic artists by participating in the CUNY Photo Challenge.

Monthly winners are featured during the following month on the CUNY website homepage billboard, on the monthly contest winners page and on the CUNY Facebook page, along with the second and third place winners. From Oct. 18 to Nov. 17, 2022, the public will be able to vote on the best student photo of the year. The finalist will be awarded an iPad.

October’s contest winners were diverse in their choice of subjects, offering multiple perspectives on both CUNY and New York itself.

The first place winner, Darius Freeman from The New York City College of Technology, captured a masked subject creating a light painting in the form of the word ‘hope’—the title of the photograph—to create a visual metaphor for “the powerful feeling of hope in the darkest of environments.”

The third place winner, Steven Nguyen from LaGuardia Community College, exemplified how motion blur photography can showcase the bold dynamism of movement in “Essential Worker,” which “highlights the importance of people like food delivery workers who have made deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The second-place winner, Kyle Ferguson from Baruch College, depicted the reflection of the campus in the window of nearby restaurant Didi Dumplings, with an eye for the delicate interplay of light and shadow in the black and white format with his photograph “Didi Diner.”

A sophomore marketing management major, basketball and football enthusiast and recent transplant from self-described small-town midwestern Ohio to Brooklyn Heights, Ferguson decided to participate in the CUNY Photo Challenge after seeing a promotion for it on Instagram. He supports the idea of CUNY publicizing it more so that other students can take advantage of the opportunity it offers.

Ferguson is self-taught in photography and discovered his interest in high school. High school was influential for him in another way—it offered him his first experience with New York in the form of a senior year field trip.

“I had to pinch myself, I didn’t think I’d be here,” he said about moving to the city seven months ago. But he quickly grew accustomed to the new pace and sights of urban life and sought to document it with his camera.

The story behind “Didi Diner” is one of serendipity. Ferguson took the photograph during his first visit to Didi Dumplings and only noticed the reflection by chance, but he decided to

seize the moment. Although his working process is not directly inspired by other photographers, the black-and-white intersection of dreamy abstraction and urban glamour in “Didi Diner” calls to mind gelatin prints by William Klein that Baruch has displayed on the seventh floor of its Vertical Campus.

Ferguson’s philosophy towards photography is simple—to him, “it’s not always a subject, it’s how you capture it.” He prioritizes emotionality in his work and enjoys photographing the people and cultures around him, aiming to find unique perspectives and create a story behind each photograph he takes. He shares his work across several social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Ferguson’s advice to other students interested in photography is to “get out there and try to capture things” instead of worrying about perfection. He encouraged other students  to “find the things that attract you, that you think should be photographed, that you think the world should see.”

Baruch students interested in photography have the option of renting out a Sony a5100 mirrorless camera with a seven-day loan from the Newman Library.

CUNY students interested in the CUNY Photo Challenge can learn more about it on its website, detailing the terms and conditions of the competition, which includes filling out the submission form.

Editor’s note: Ferguson recently became a photographer for The Ticker