Instagram account showcases student photography

The Biola Student Life Instagram account allows users to enter a weekly photography contest judged by students and faculty from different disciplines.


Photo courtesy of Biola Student Life

Jehn Kubiak, Writer

Television screens in dorm lobbies display colorful slides with information about weekly chapels and other campus events. Captivating images submitted by students on Instagram also light up these screens on campus and showcase student photography. These photographs are winners of the Biola picture of the week contest run by the Biola Student Life Instagram page.


Alumna Kendall Martin created the page three years ago, but junior cinema and media arts major and student communications intern Jose Ordonez is the current administrator of the Biola Student Life Instagram page. He has run the page for two years and originally chose the contest winners himself, but decided to include a panel of judges this year.

Ordonez said the variety of perspectives on the panel allows for different opinions and taste when judging the photos.

“From what I’ve seen, they all pick different pictures. Some of the judges like to see what’s happening in the picture — the content and some of them just look at the visuals and aesthetics,” Ordonez said.

Ordonez has also changed the page design and logo and said more students have participated in the contest since he made the changes. His favorite part about the page is seeing how it forms community through art even though it is a competition. In addition, he loves seeing students become enthusiastic about art by submitting photos for the contest.

“My whole reason for why I wanted to change things is because I wanted to connect the student body through art and photography and have it be open to everyone,” Ordonez said.


Students can submit photos using the hashtag #biolapicoftheweek, and Ordonez said the contest receives about 60 to 80 submissions weekly. The majority of students who submit photos are art majors, but both art and non-art majors submit photos. Ordonez sees students submit many photos of sunrises and sunsets, but he enjoys seeing photos that deviate from the popular categories.

The panel of judges includes associate professor of photography Kurt Simonson, senior art major Chris Rasmussen, sophomore art major Kathryn Ashford, junior computer science major Riley Souisa and sophomore elementary education major Rachel Bennett.

The judges choose the winner by selecting a photo from a ballot of nine photos and assigning points to the top three photos. The photo with the most points earns “Biola picture of the week” and is displayed on the screens across campus. In addition, winners receive photo books with all of the Biola pictures of the week for the semester. Ordonez said there will also be a Biola picture of the semester winner.

Contest winners shared their photo’s significance and the story behind it.


Junior political science major Luke Webster submitted a photo he took of the Yosemite Half Dome, a granite rock dome located in Yosemite National Park, during a three-day backpacking trip with a friend over the weekend of Torrey conference.

Webster enjoys the beautiful view he captured in the photo and said it allowed him to see the beauty of nature in the area.

“I like the picture overall — it was of a fun memory and beautiful place that you don’t often get to go to. It was a good reminder of the beauty outside L.A.,” Webster said.

Sophomore communications major Janda Chasse entered a picture of a painting she connected with in the Biola Art Gallery. The painting is titled “Sunset Over Cape Town in South Africa” and was painted by associate professor of art Jonathan Anderson. Chasse took the IRIS small group communication and art appreciation class during Interterm with Anderson and said the class helped her see art in a new way.  

Chasse said taking a pictures of the painting allows a viewer to see art from a different perspective.

“Even capturing the beauty of a painting that compels you through a photograph is a way to express art,” Chasse said. “I didn’t just take a picture of something that I had a memory from, but I think I was able to experience an art piece from a new perspective and wanted to share it with others.”


Senior film major Daniel Robinson submitted his photo because he did not see many night-time and astrophotography submissions and felt it was unique compared to many other submissions.

Robinson captured his photo of the Milky Way late at night during a 21 hour film shoot seven weeks ago at a secluded field in Montana. He decided to snap the picture because he knew it was a unique view people living in California do not often see.

“I’d been up for a long time and I looked up and saw a lot of stars, so I thought it’d be a really good opportunity to take that picture — it’s not something you really see in California,” Robinson said.

The photo is special to him because it allows him to remember the film shoot and unique view he experienced.

“I think any picture any photographer takes kind of brings them back to that moment they were there,” Robinson said. “For me, I was really tired and really cold but being able to experience that setting made it worth it. Looking at the picture reminds me of that entire weekend.”

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