ND photograph receives world recognition
GRAND FORKS — A photograph from the North Dakota Museum of Art’s “Songs for Spirit Lake” exhibition recently received a World Press Photo award, gaining worldwide recognition.
Photographer Rena Effendi, one of six artists commissioned for the exhibition, captured the photograph of 10-year-old Dasan Cavanaugh at the Spirit Lake Reservation in April 2013. Now, that photo of the shirtless young boy with long brown hair will travel the world with other prize-winning photographs.
“It’s really amazing for me to get an award from World Press Photo, a highly reputable organization that has been supporting photography for almost 60 years,” Effendi said. “It’s one of the oldest and definitely the world’s largest and most prestigious annual photographic competition.”
Thousands of photographs are submitted to the contest in nine categories every year. And a group of internationally recognized photographers select the top three in each section, according to the contest’s website.
Effendi’s photograph won second place in the observed portraits category.
“When I saw Dasan, I was intrigued by his features,” Effendi said. “I thought his face had a very strong expression and his hair was, of course, striking.”
The boy was combing his hair when she first met him, and she later learned that it hadn’t been cut since he was born.
“In this portrait, I like the expression of both tenderness and strength in Dasan’s features,” she said. “I really love the color of the grass too and how it matches Dasan’s hair tone. I was struck by how beautiful he looked there and how distinguished his facial features were.”
Her photograph of Dasan can be viewed in the “Songs for Spirit Lake” exhibition at the NDMOA in Grand Forks until mid-April, before it begins its journey to more than 100 cities across the world.
Effendi’s other work can be found in magazines such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Newsweek and Marie Claire, and on her website: www.refendi.com.