Senior Alex Kormann '19 nabs top prize in 2019 White House News Photographers Association 'Eyes of History' contest

The White House News Photographers Association has named UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media senior Alex Kormann ’19 the WHNPA Student Still Photographer of the Year in the 2019 ‘Eyes of History’ student contest. WHNPA made the announcement on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

Kormann submitted work from throughout his time in college, including several single shots and two photo stories — one covering Silent Sam and one sharing the story of a mom battling cancer.


When he got the call, Kormann thought it was a joke.

“After it became clear that this was legitimate and it wasn’t someone pranking me, I just got really, really excited,” Kormann said. “It’s really an honor.”

The White House News Photographers Association is a 98-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the efforts of Washington’s professional photojournalists. The WHNPA aims to provide professional and educational outreach to its members and the community through scholarships, programming, an annual competition and a celebration of the industry at the annual ‘Eyes of History’ gala.

The top winners of the still, video, multimedia and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History’ gala on Saturday, June 15, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the President of the United States. Nearly 1,000 guests, including government dignitaries and industry celebrities, attend.

Julian W. Scheer Term Professor Patrick Davison said news photographers in the D.C. area are part of the WHNPA.

“Career-wise, this recognition will open up a lot of doors for Alex,” Davison said. “For a young guy who’s been working very hard, this is just the fruit of his labor.”

The judges for the student still photography competition were Jabin Botsford, Jim Lo Scalzo and Hussman School alumna Carolyn Van Houten ’14. The video judges were Beth Brown, Brian Hopkins, Alice Li and Nathan Luna.

In discussing Kormann’s win, Botsford said, “Alex had a strong mix of singles and stories. He utilized strong moments with complimentary lighting.”

Students from the Hussman School have been recognized by the WHNPA before; past honorees include Isabella Bartolucci ’16, Carolyn Van Houten ’14 and Jon Kasbe ’13.