Nineteen-year-old Alexandra Valliant of Hampton Township is one of two local young people winning trips to Paris for their photos, and she says “I’m still in shock. I’ve never been to France. It’ll be a crazy, one of a kind experience — and I can’t believe I have the opportunity now.”
She and 15-year-old Danielle Perelman of Squirrel Hill were chosen by local judges to represent the city — and the United States — at the second annual International Heritage Photography Exhibition, sponsored here by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. They’ll be jetting to the Palace of Europe in Strasbourg in December for the awards ceremony, then have their photos displayed in all 60 participating countries and published in the contest catalog. (See all Pittsburgh entries here.
Valliant’s winning photo is quintessentially Pittsburgh — it shows the crowd at PNC Park, with a river, bridge and Downtown skyline in the background, as seen from the stadium stands. Perelman’s photo is Fair Oaks Drive on an ultra-snowy day, with just a few silhouetted souls stopping in mid-shovel.
“These are pictures of Pittsburgh we’re all used to seeing,” says Angela Seals, program manager at the museum. “But if you think of it from the point of view of someone who hasn’t seen snow, or who is from somewhere that doesn’t have these big trees …” Indeed, she notes, when last year’s Pittsburgh winners befriended Tunisian photographers in Paris, they found people who seemed just like them. But their winning photos gave surprising glimpses of Tunisian desert-village life.
Although the international contest was begun to promote preservation of each place’s unique landscape, Pittsburgh’s photos “give a sense that this isn’t just a landscape made by bridges and mountains and buildings, but a landscape made of people who live here,” says Seals. Pittsburgh is the only U.S. city participating in the IHPE.
All entrants will be shown in a Children’s Museum gallery starting Sept. 10. Honorable mention winner Cody Voye’s photo of the Duquesne Incline will be exhibited at the incline.
Writer: Marty Levine
Sources: Angela Seals, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Alexandra Valliant
Image courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh