22nd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Bay Area Images - Adult


"101 Pedestrian Overpass"

By Kyu Kim

Who would've thought that leading a double life could be a beneficial practice? For Kyu Kim, that is exactly what he has done. Architect by day, amateur photographer by night, he has seen his two seemingly disparate worlds colliding more and more.

Kim is a graduate of Palo Alto High and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. It wasn't until college that he began photography as a hobby. It was in high school, however, when he was able to intern at ACS Architects where he now works. ACS would be the nexus for his ability to capture uncanny beauty.

"I'm always pretty aware of what I'm surrounded by and what I'm looking at," he said of seeing the beauty in things others don't, a quality he credits architecture for giving him. "Sometimes the best pictures come out of the things that aren't necessarily the best to look at."

That was the case for Kim as he prepared to cross the U.S. Highway 101 pedestrian overpass one day. The 29-year-old Palo Alto native looked at the bridge as a piece of architecture. Calling on his tendency to notice how light filters through a building or a room, he noticed "some nice contrast and the amount of light and shade, a certain aspect of symmetry that is there, but not there" on the overpass.

And so he shot the photo without hesitation. With a little editing to the image's color saturation and a quick crop job, Kim's winning image was created.

"It's about pulling something out of a place that's always there, but many don't see."

— Tre'vell Anderson

Judge's Comment:

The winning images in this category demonstrate that one does not have to travel far to take evocative photographs.

First-place winner Kyu Kim's "101 Pedestrian Overpass" leads us to a mysterious place, symbolized by the small blaze of white light at the far end of the walkway. I like how this image combines strong graphic elements -- lines converging to a vanishing point -- with soft, middle gray tones. Too much tonal contrast would destroy the sense of atmosphere.

— David Hibbard

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