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First Place Earned by Defying Expectations at International Photography Awards

My CircusRus Anson recently won the coveted First Place award in the Self-Promotion (non-professional) category from the International Photography Awards competition for her work entitled My Circus.  The award is only given once a year to a non-professional photographer.

"With the series I illustrated my own vision of the circus, or, in other words, the circus that I would love to see," she says.

Rus says children's books from her own childhood were the source of her inspiration.

"Looking at these books I realized that all of them were illustrated by drawings and not by photographs," she says. "I definitely think that a child can feel more identified with the characters of the story if they are real people, not animations."

Rus says that her purpose in photography is to entertain.  "The same way that a clown or a tightrope walker might do," she says, "I want to make people laugh, catch them off guard, make them feel happy or sad. I want to make them forget about their daily routines, make them have a good time."

The Photo Montage class at Academy of Art University helped her put together the unique elements of her work. She worked with Will Mosgrove, the Graduate Director of Photography, as a part of her thesis project, where he helped her not only define her style and focus the direction of the project, but also showed her how to defend her work and talk about her images in public.

All of her hard work paid off, though, when she learned the news of her win. "I was speechless," she says. "I still don't believe that I will have my work hanging in the Splashlight studios in New York City next to Nadav Kander's or Francois Robert's. It's just amazing."

The award is a significant honor, but it's not her first.  In 2007, Rus also won first prize in a photography competition in Spain, sponsored by the newspaper El Pais. "The prize was a professional DSLR camera and it was because of this that I started to take photography more seriously," she says.

Her suggestion to fellow photography students is to never stop trying new things. "Now is the time to try new things, to take risks," to discover what we really enjoy.

Rus defies expectations, and not just in her work. "My family and my friends from Spain call me Rus just because it is short for Rosanna," she says. "I know that here in America it can cause some confusion because of the abbreviation of Russel, Russ, and I like it. It is fun to arrive at the photo shoots and see how everybody was expecting a boy, not me."

Academy of Art University congratulates Rus on her achievement.

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