MFA Photo/Video candidate Simon Paul is the worthy recipient of pdn/Photo District News's Grand Prize for student-produced photography. His prize-winning work Genesis of Desire is a studio-based project informed by Paul's own struggles with masculinity, body dysmorphia and gender expectations. Genesis of Desire is a black-and-white series of collages of male bodies that exist in physical and imaginary planes.
Paul is a Romanian-American photographer, multimedia artist, and filmmaker living and working in New York City. He was raised in the Southwest desert where he received his B.S. in Biology. He is currently working toward his MFA at the School of Visual Arts.
Paul’s work explores the boundaries between image capture, performance, photo collage, and sculpture. Made largely without the aid of cut-and-paste digital tools, the work exists in the same physical realm as the viewer. The work focuses on challenging mortality and the confines of the body to embrace the “other."
The PDNedu 2019 Student Photo Contest is open to students of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs, and includes a category for high school students. Winners are recognized in the Spring 2019 issue of PDNedu, which has a circulation of 50,000 copies to students and educators nationwide. Featured photographers such as Paul benefit from promotion to PDN's online audience of more than 500,000 followers. Grand-prize winners also receive prizes that include a Nikon DSLR camera, $150 to B&H Photo and Video and a portfolio consultation with either an editor at PDN or a contest judge.