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VisCom student Brad Vest named College Photographer of the Year

Erin Roberts | Nov 10, 2011

VisCom student Brad Vest named College Photographer of the Year

OHIO students earn the accolade five out of past six years

Travis sits in the back seat of his parents' car after being released onto probation on May 24, 2011.By Erin Roberts,

RIGHT: In this photo taken by Ohio University VisCom graduate student Brad Vest, Travis sits in the back seat of his parents' car after being released onto probation on May 24, 2011. Vest has been named College Photographer of the Year.

ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 10, 2011)—Brad Vest, an Ohio University Visual Communication graduate student, has been named College Photographer of the Year in the 66th annual contest sponsored by the University of Missouri in Colombia, Mo.

In addition to winning Gold in the Portfolio category, Vest finished at the top in Documentary and General News and won Bronze in the Portrait category. His win in the contest marks the fifth time in the last six years that an Ohio University student has won the contest, dominating the competition.

“Contests are always the luck of the draw because you don’t know what judges are going to like and not like,” said School of Visual Communication (VisCom) Director Terry Eiler. “But we’ve had an incredible run of some of the best students showing some of the best work we’ve had here at the school... We’ve had a very good showing.”

Vest says he’s proud to be part of the tradition at Ohio University and credits the VisCom program and its culture for fostering student winners.

“I am honored to keep the streak going,” he said. “I think OHIO is something extra special. Great professors, classmates are amazing, and this area of the country is so special and unique. The program really allows us the time to make lasting, impactful work. I would love to see the school continue to be among the best.”

Vest earned a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in 2008 from the University of Illinois-Champaign in Urbana, Ill., and began studying at Ohio University in 2009. He finished his coursework in spring of 2011 and interned with The Virginian Pilot over the summer. Vest is currently working on his master’s project, the story of a young man in Ravenswood, W.Va. trying to break his addiction to drugs and provide for his family. It was this project, entitled “Adrift,” that he submitted as part of his CPOY portfolio.

Vest said he’s been following results of the contest all week, and was surprised to see his name come up for the top prize.

“Obviously, some of the work I did in West Virginia has been well received, but knowing some of the other documentary work that was done this year, I was surprised and excited to win the title,” Vest said.

Vest has won numerous awards for his work. In 2011 alone, he has been recognized as Emerging Talent by Getty Images, won the Flash Forward Award for Emerging Photographers from the Magenta Foundation and won the Student Award of Excellence from the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, among other things.

Vest plans to finish his master’s program in the spring and is working on a book that will expand on his master’s project. As part of the CPOY award, he’ll complete an internship with National Geographic in 2012.

“Coming to Ohio is one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Vest said. “It’s helped me to find my voice. [The school] has done wonderful things for me, and I hope it does the same for future students.

To see more of his work, visit To view his winning CPOY portfolio, visit theCPOY site.