Three Chico State alumni have been recognized in Photographer’s Forum magazine’s 36th annual “Best of College and High School Photography” photography contest—placing in the top 10 percent of more than 10,000 submissions. Photos by Sam Rivera, Marianna Chambard, and Sean Peeler caught the judges’ eyes with their polished skills, unique styles, and keen perspectives.

Contest photo entries were examined closely by a judgment panel of three professional photographers who double as college-level photography instructors, according to the contest website. From the college submissions category, 8 winners were selected, 101 were considered as honorable mentions, and 928 made it as finalists. Rivera (BA, Studio Art, ’16) scored an “Honorable Mention,” while both Chambard (MFA, Art,’16), and Peeler (BA, Studio Art, ’15) earned “Finalist” nods.

Sam Rivera – Honorable Mention Piers by Sam A. Rivera

Photograph Title: Piers

Photographic Series: I Once Lived Here

“This image is a six-plate composite image done with the use of a 19th century photographic technique called a tintype. This image is from a 10-piece series titled I Once Lived Here.  The subject matter in the pieces illustrated places of my past and places of my present that reminded me of my past.”

Marianna Chambard – FinalistUntitled by Marianna Chambard

Photograph Title: Untitled

Photographic Series: Sanctuary: Into the Woods

“Warm sunlight breaks through the branches and washes over my face. As the sound of the wind rustles through the trees, I exist in a place of comfort. The beauty of light filters through leaves even as they hang dying in the midst of changing seasons, suggestive of reemerging with even more perfection.

This body of work explores the understanding that the natural world is a place of sanctuary, of escape. In this world, the women appear as nymphs, embodying a standard of beauty I feel pressured to attain. The solitude of the woods, however, subdues that pressure.  For me, nature is a refuge where who I am or what I look like does not matter. The worries that I shoulder the damages of daily life slowly wash away as I travel deeper and deeper into the woods.”

Sean Peeler – FinalistFeather River by Sean Peeler

Photograph Title: Feather River

Photographic Series: The River

*Exhibited in 2015 at the Laxson Fine Arts Gallery*

“The River explores displacement and impermanence through a series of surrenders and vulnerabilities. The series parallels a personal mourning that carries with it displacement and futility. Our greatest clarity often arrives during moments of intense vulnerability. This state of mind brings us into the unashamed present, aware of all fears, open and radiating with profound presence; an absolute intimacy, honest and accepting of a self that is imperfect and mortal. The human experience is transitory and dissolving. Ideas are being challenged and outdated, the landscape evolving, (and) the body burdening. The universal yielding of all organisms, objects, and ideas is a theme that I am deeply interested in, as is the function of submission in the human condition. Submission is often a source of liberation and catharsis. The endless options, opinions, and aesthetics are the foundation for an experience that is paradoxical. When we are confronted with a reality that is defined by physical laws, we find ourselves yet again at a river: prevailing, persistent, faintly familiar.”