Oestervang Wins 2006 Gordon Parks Photography Competition

FORT SCOTT, KS – Danish photographer Charlotte Oestervang has won first place in the 2006 Gordon Parks Photography Competition for her photograph “Kashmir Three Months After the Earthquake.”

"Photojournalism is a new field for me and going to Kashmir to cover the aftermath of the earthquake was my first major trip," Oestervang told News Photographer magazine. "To win the first prize in the Gordon Parks Photography Competition is unexpected but it's a huge honor and a great encouragement for continuing this path."

Winners in the competition were announced this week. The finalists were judged this year by Toni Parks – daughter of famous photographer – along with Bobbi Baker Burrows, of Life magazine, and photographer Howard L. Bingham.

Danielle P. Richards of Teaneck, NJ, won second place for her picture “Flood Follies,” and there was a tie for third place between Sean B. Masterson of Carlsbad, CA, for “Malaria” and Associated Press photojournalist Eric Gay of San Antonio, TX, for his Katrina photograph titled “Tanisha Belvin and Nita LaGarde.” Photographer Sarah Hoskins of Libertyville, IL, won an honorable mention for her entry, “Rev. Morton and Emma.”

First place in the Parks Competition includes a $1,000 USD prize, second place wins $500, and third place wins $250. Masterson and Gay will each receive the full third place award, organizers decided. Life magazine matched the third place cash prize and funded the honorable mention cash prize, which is $100.

Oestervang studied documentary photography and photojournalism for a year at the International Center of Photography in New York, in 2005, after internships with Antonin Kratochvil and Shelby Lee Adams in New York City and Hazard, KY. She has a bachelor’s degree in fine art photography from the Academy of Performing Arts, Film, and Television in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 2000. Her photographs have been in exhibits at Visa pour l’Image and Medicin du Monde in Perpignan, and at the Tom Blau Gallery in London. Her work can be seen online at www.oestervang.dk.

Finalists in this year’s Parks Competition included G.M.B. Akash, of Bangladesh; Amos Aikman of Canberra, Australia; James Autery of Columbia, MO; Gabriela Bulisova, of Mount Rainier, MD; William B. Plowman of Somerville, MA; Susan Raab of Washington, DC; Ahikam Seri, of Jerusalem; and Billy Weeks of Ringgold, GA.

Earlier the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity at Fort Scott Community College announced that photographer Howard L. Bingham, one of this year’s Parks Competition judges, is the recipient of the Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award. The honor was bestowed on the first weekend of October during the annual Gordon Parks Celebration of Culture and Diversity at the center.

The Choice of Weapons Award was named after Parks’ autobiography of the same name, and the honor seeks to recognize someone who exemplifies the spirit and strength and character of Gordon Parks. Parks selected the title for his autobiography because his choice of weapon to fight poverty, racism, and violence was his camera.

The Parks Center is located in Fort Scott because it was Parks’ hometown.