Photo by WPI Grad Student Selected by National Geographic

Nighttime photo of Earle Bridge featured in "Daily Dozen" online
January 27, 2014

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A photograph taken on campus by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) alumnus and graduate student Donal Boyd has been selected by National Geographic for inclusion in its "Daily Dozen" online collection.

Boyd's nighttime image of Earle Bridge is currently posted in the magazine's online collection, and will be published in an upcoming print edition. The image shows a man in a long coat and wide-brimmed hat crossing the bridge, which is shrouded in fog and partially illuminated by streetlights.

Boyd, a Raynham native who graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in May 2013, said he set up his Canon in full manual mode on a tripod at the bridge and waited for the "right person" to cross the bridge. "It had a foggy atmosphere, but with the added presence of the human element, it became stunning," he said.

There had been a concert that evening at nearby Alden Hall, with many people crossing the bridge. When he saw his subject reach a certain point, he shot several frames. "I chose the frame of the gentleman in mid-stride, with his coat swaying to one side, and his face in shadow, because it is the most profound of all the shots I took," Boyd said. "The vague detail of his silhouetted figure adds a mysterious tone to the image, which is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes or The Exorcist."

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Boyd has worked as a professional photographer for eight years, shooting everything from weddings to New England Patriots cheerleaders. He said his interest in photography stemmed from his father's photography and videography, and borrowing his father's equipment.

"My interest stemmed from my own curiosity with the cameras that my father used," he recalled. "He always would let me experiment with his cameras and let me use them whenever I wanted. The first camera that I was able to call my own was given to me by my father. … I explored my surroundings with the camera that my father gave me. … As I grew, looking through the eye-piece of a camera, I developed a unique perspective of the world around me."

Boyd, who has worked on campus as a teaching assistant in the past, has officially accepted an invitation to serve as a Secondary Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, departing June 2014. He is currently enrolled as a graduate student at WPI, and plans to earn a master's degree in chemical engineering this May. If given the opportunity, he would like to shoot for Time, Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanics magazines.

Boyd's image of Earle Bridge can be seen in National Geographic's Daily Dozen. He said he expects it to be published in an issue of the magazine within the next four months.