Cegep de Matane Student Wins Grand Prize in the Bridgestone Photo Contest

    2007 Contest attracts record number of student entrants

    MONTREAL, March 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Have trouble imagining tires as a work
of art? That certainly wasn't the case for a record 269 students representing
12 schools from every province who displayed their artistic prowess in the
sixth annual Bridgestone Photo Contest. An unprecedented 353 photographs were
submitted for the 2007 contest, which requires students enrolled in commercial
photography studies at a dozen pre-selected Canadian post-secondary schools to
photograph a Bridgestone-brand tire in an artistic context that complements
their photography skills.
    A total bursary of $39,000 will be divided between the two national
winners of the Contest and the top three photographers in each of the
12 competing schools.
    After reviewing all of the submissions, a three-member jury composed of
professionals in the photography field awarded this year's Grand Prize to
Martin Gros, a second-year student at Cégep de Matane in Matane, Quebec. The
winning entry by Gros, a native of Ile de la Réunion, depicted an individual
in harmony with nature, jumping for joy with a Bridgestone tire around the
waist, reminiscent of a hula-hoop.
    Natalia Shaidenko, a Moscow native in her final year in the Dawson
College (Montreal) photography program, was awarded Honourable Mention for her
photograph of a field of Black-eyed Susans, with a Bridgestone tire serving as
the black disk in the centre of the flower. Shaidenko also entered the contest
last year and earned second prize in the individual-school part of the
    Gros receives $3,500 for winning the Grand Prize, while Shaidenko earns
$2,500 for her Honourable Mention award. The two major winners were presented
with their awards during a ceremony at Dawson College on March 20. At this
same ceremony, cheques were also presented to students from Cégep de Matane,
Algonquin College and Dawson College as the top three winners from the
12 competing schools.
    "Winning the award is a great surprise," said Gros, who like last year's
Grand Prize winner is an Ile de la Réunion student on an exchange program at
Cégep de Matane. "It is going to give me even more motivation to continue. The
prize will help me put aside some money to buy photography equipment. I had an
idea when I first thought about entering the contest, but it was really too
complex to be able to develop it. Then I went to the Bridgestone website and
saw that the company is very environmentally conscious, so I decided to go
with that and develop the idea of a person in a state of well being and
harmony with nature."
    Shaidenko, who plans to pursue her studies at Concordia University or try
to find work as a photographer in the Montreal area, said she first came up
with the Bridgestone tire-in-a-sunflower idea last year, but waited until this
year's contest to advance the concept. "It is great that this is a winning
photo," she remarked. "I find it flattering and reassuring. And I give credit
to my teachers, because I have great ones."
    The Bridgestone Photo Contest, inaugurated in 2002 by Bridgestone
Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA), to celebrate the creativity of Canadians
enrolled in photography programs, evokes the same innovative spirit and
passion for excellence that mirror one of the core values for Bridgestone:
providing superior products with leading-edge technology. The student
photographers combined their imagination with advancements in photographic
equipment to produce works that are rooted in professionalism.
    "As the Bridgestone Photo Contest continues to grow, with more students
and more entries every year, we are increasingly in awe of the creative,
cutting-edge work being done by student photographers across the country,"
said Jeremy Smith, Manager of Public Affairs for BFCA. "I'm sure most of us
would agree that photographing a tire by itself is rather mundane. Taking
something that may be considered mundane and elevating it to a work of art is
quite a challenge, and it is one that our 269 contestants have met in
remarkable fashion."
    This year's panel of judges, all from Vancouver, included Gerry
Frechette, an automotive editor, writer and photographer who contributes to a
number of prominent publications; Stuart McCall, a long-time professional
photographer whose art work has graced websites, magazines and annual reports
and who frequently exhibits his photo-based artwork in galleries; and Tony
Whitney, a print journalist, TV show host and photographer for over 30 years
and whose photography, including many cover shots, appears regularly in
various media.

    About Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc.:

    Mississauga-based Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA) is an
affiliate of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). BFCA and
Nashville, Tennessee-based BFNT are subsidiaries of Bridgestone Americas
Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's
largest tire and rubber company. BFCA and BFNT develop, manufacture and market
Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. They are focused on
wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck,
commercial vehicle, off-road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to
their customers in Canada and the United States respectively.

    Winning photos: The winning photo and photos of the official presentation
can be viewed on the contest web site at www.bridgestonephoto.com. Media can
obtain high-resolution photos by contacting Hélène Lapointe.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Lapointe, (514) 288-8290, ext. 212;
Jeremy Smith, (615) 937-1421

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