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VisCom’s Sara Lewkowicz wins Sony’s WPA Photographer of the Year, $25K

May 13, 2014

VisCom’s Sara Lewkowicz wins Sony’s WPA Photographer of the Year, NPPA scholarship

Graduate student garnering acclaim for domestic violence work

By Erin Roberts

ATHENS, Ohio (May 13, 2014)—Sara Lewkowicz, a graduate student in the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, has won the 2014 L’Iris d’Or, Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year, beating out more than 139,554 entries from 166 countries and winning a significant monetary prize as well as Sony digital imaging equipment. On the heels of that win, she was also named one of seven students nationwide selected for a $2000 scholarship through the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

Sony World Photography judges unanimously decided on Lewkowicz’ series “Shane and Maggie,” which profiles domestic violence as a process. She accepted the win at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony held in London on April 30.

Lewkowicz, who will return to campus this fall to complete classes, has won multiple major awards for the series, including the College Photographer of the Year (CPoY) Award, the Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award, the 2013 Alexia Foundation Award and the Award of Excellence in the 2013 White House News Photographer Association The Eyes of History™ student contest.

Terry Eiler, a professor in the School of Visual Communication, believes that the success of Lewkowicz series hinges not only on her skill, but on her ability to gain access to such a personal story.

“Sara’s remarkable images have had world impact on the telling of the domestic violence story,” said Terry Eiler, a professor in the School of Visual Communication. “Her awards list for this story is astonishing, but these hidden stories are often the most important. Sara is certainly a hardworking and very focused student; however, this level of access to difficult stories seldom happens without great personal sensitivity to the subject and the topic.” 

Lewkowicz has been working on two projects in London through the Alexia Foundation and completes an internship at National Geographic this summer as part of the CPoY win. She says she has been “flabbergasted” by the number of awards won by the series.

Lewkowicz won the Kit C. King Scholarship from the NPPA. The scholarship is exclusively for those pursuing advanced degrees and is endowed in honor of the late Kit C. King, who served as chief photographer for The Spokesman Review and Chronicle. More information can be found at https://nppa.org/node/66864.

Her most recent Sony World Photography Awards win has led to features by news organizations worldwide such as the Huffington Post, the BBC and the Sydney Morning Herald, among others.