Justin Rex, a junior electronic media and communication major from Houston, was selected as a finalist for the 36th annual college and high school photography contest from Photographer’s Forum magazine.
This image, taken while on assignment for The Daily Toreador, was during the French Club’s candlelight vigil after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Rex said. The vigil was hosted toward the end of November 2015.
Rex said this photo stood out from the more than 60 photos he took that night.
“I really liked the color in the photo,” Rex said. “It was right after the sun had set. The sky was a nice contrast with the orange of the candles. The line of people and candles led very nice to the bell tower in the Administration building. It conveyed the emotion of that event very well. It told the story very well.”
Rex’s photo was one of less than 1,000 photographs selected by the magazine as a finalist in the college category, according to the Photographer’s Forum magazine website. Only eight photos were selected as winners.
Jerod Foster, assistant professor of journalism and electronic media in the College of Media and Communication, said this photo stood out to him as well.
“I believe that the first time I saw it, I saw it on Facebook,” Foster said. “I saw it and it grabbed me. I noticed the great color it had in it and the great composition it had with the candles. That drew me visually to the image but beyond that, it was a great moment that he captured. It reflected the students’ appeal toward their humanity, their passion and their care for others because of a tragedy.”
This was not Rex’s first recognition from this contest, he said. Rex heard about and was a finalist for this contest while attending community college for a photo he took of an abandoned mansion in Galveston.
Because of the previous experience Rex had, he said he had an idea of what kind of photo the judges were looking for.
“Knowing how they judged photos,” Rex said, “I thought this one would be well suited for this contest because it was a current event at the time.”
Foster said the moment the photo was captured helped it stand out from the other submissions in the contest.
“I think that the judges were looking for a moment captured, and Justin did a great job with that,” Foster said. “He noticed the care that other students had, the moment of solace that they had in memoriam toward others that were lost.”
As a finalist, Rex’s photo will be published in an art book, he said. Tech is also planning on using the photo.
“The history department has been in contact with me and The Daily Toreador to possibly put the photo in their archives,” Rex said. “Tech also wants to show the photo as a part of a showcase. It is a great way to put my name out there.”
Rex is now focusing on his personal work and has no plans on entering more contests anytime soon, he said, but he thinks being one of the finalists is special as a photographer.
Foster said Rex is a talented photographer and has the talent to work for a publication after he leaves the university.
“Justin is a strong photographer,” Foster said. “It is evident because of this image, but also in my previous experiences with him. He’s got a strong grasp of the camera and has a keen eye.”