Showing a sense of place

King’s is excited to announce our first journalism contest for grade 12 students. The theme for this contest is to create a photo essay showing a sense of place.

How to enter the contest

  • Entries must come from students who are currently in grade 12.
  • Take six or seven photos that tell a story of what it is like to be in a certain location (e.g., your home, your neighbourhood, your community).
  • Students will write a 100­­­-300-word introduction to introduce the piece, but keep in mind that your photos should speak for themselves. Include short captions for each photo. The captions should be one or two short sentences in length.
  • We do not want students breaking COVID-19 protocols or putting themselves in danger to complete this contest. Please keep safety in mind while you plan your photo essay.

The photo essays will be judged on how well they tell the story of the place they’re trying to show. Some participants might be completing this contest with their phone, while others with a camera. Therefore, the quality of the image is not as important as the story the photo is showing. This contest is accessible regardless of how much photography experience someone has.

Ways to shoot a photo essay safely

  • Focus on telling stories within your bubble. Early in the first lockdown, New York Times photojournalists did a project called Still Lives (look below) focused on shooting their families, friends and people close to them. Everyone has a story –work to get a deeper level of photos of the people in your life.
  • Capture the feeling of a place. Everyone thinks they need to fly somewhere to get exotic and compelling photos. Yet, National Geographic has sent its photographers to Nova Scotia many times in the past. How would you capture the area you are in for people that don’t live there? What does it feel like to live where you do?
  • There is an old saying in photojournalism from Robert Capa, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” However, even six feet away from someone, you are closer than most people get when taking pictures. Make sure to obey social distancing rules and don’t put yourself in danger to get a photo–it’s never worth it.

Photo essay examples


Want to build your photography skills before submitting a contest entry? Jeff Harper, who is a photojournalism instructor at King’s, ran a workshop on Feb. 7 that covered how to shoot a proper photo essay.

The grand prize

The winner will receive a Canon E0S Rebel SL-3 camera, King’s swag and have their work published on the King’s website. There will be prizes for the two runners-up.

To submit your essay, please complete this submission form [PDF] and send it along with your photo essay to Josh at The deadline is Monday, March 8.