There's probably no greater honor for an aspiring photographer, short of winning a Pulitzer, than to have one's work recognized by National Geographic. This month, that honor belongs to Zoë Barracano of Burlington, whose photograph, "Magnetism," was chosen as one of 10 finalists in National Geographic's "Story Without Words" global photo contest.
Barracano's picture (right) was shot several years ago in India while she and her family were living in Singapore and traveling around Asia. It was chosen by Dan Westergren, senior photo editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine, who had the daunting task of sifting through more than 7000 submissions to select just 10 finalists.
Barracano says that Nat Geo has had a big influence on her work, though ironically, she admits she's been trying to move away from the glossy mag's ubiquitous style in recent years and create her own brand of photography.
To be fair, Barracano, a New York City native who moved to Burlington about two years ago, isn't exactly a novice shooter. Her photos have been published in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Sun, among other publications; closer to home, one of her photos ran on the cover of the February 2011 Art Map Burlington. Her work was also part of the 2011 juried show at the South End Art Hop. Other pix of hers have hung around Burlington at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, Vermont Community Access Media and at the headquarters of the American Red Cross of Northern New England.
"The thing about Burlington that's been fun is that there are venues that are constantly looking for photography and art in general," she says. "So, I'm able to keep something up on the walls somewhere all the time."
The winner of the Nat Geo photo contest will be chosen online by visitors to the "Story Without Words" website. Voting opened on December 12 and closes January 15. Although viewing and voting on the 10 photos first requires entering some basic personal info — visitors to the site must register both with National Geographic and The Hilton HHonors program — it's free to register and you can only vote once. The grand prize winner, to be announced on January 25, will receive one million HHonors points and a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos. Talk about a great photo op!
Photo courtesy of Zoë Barracano.