MCCC Photo Student Kyle Lang Wins 2020 Thomas George Artist Fund 2020


West Windsor, N.J. – The first time Mercer County Community College (MCCC) student Kyle Lang won a photography contest was in 2012. The photo, a macro shot of a frog’s eye for which he earned the Linowitz Award, was an extension of what he enjoyed doing most at the time: going outside.

“I loved playing outdoors, finding bugs and researching what I found,” Lang said. “I started photography when I was about 13 years old. I started with a point-and-shoot to document the bugs I’d find to show them off, like a ‘look what I found’ kind of deal.”

Lang took his prize money from that first contest and invested in a new lens, opening the door to his exploration of new types of photography. Since then he’s been published and had his work on display in print and digital magazines and solo shows alike.

Now, eight years later, Lang’s photography is once again earning him recognition. Last month, Lang won the Thomas George Artists Fund, an annual award that provides an artist the financial freedom to focus on their preferred medium.

The award, which is part of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, focuses on supporting artists from Mercer, The College of New Jersey, and Rider University. Its namesake comes from an artist whose career was rarely stationary, much like Lang, who spent time traveling while honing his craft.

Lang first enrolled at Mercer in 2014, where he learned more about shooting on film and the processing in the darkroom.

“Mercer’s photo program had a heavy influence on my shift to film from digital,” Lang said.

But in 2015, Lang left the college and took a job as a representative with Nikon. Then, a year later, he left the country to study self-directed analog photography. As he became more comfortable with his work, which focused on landscape photography, Lang returned to MCCC to finish his degree.

“I chose Mercer for the price,” Lang said. “As an artist, I wasn’t sure if school was the right option for me at first and since I’m paying for my own education I thought it would be a good place to figure out if school was the right path.”

Still, Lang said he’s received much more than financial savings at Mercer. Working with both Photography Professor Michael Chovan-Dalton and Photo Lab Manager Kathy Keelan helped him to step outside his comfort zone and to shoot more conceptual photography, telling stories about the environment, and featuring themes like Americana, and surrealism.

“I had Professor Dalton for both of my photo classes this semester and he helped my work progress by pushing me out of my comfort zone,” Lang said. “And Kathy Keelan, Mercer’s darkroom technician, helped me greatly with the printing process and wasn’t afraid to point out flaws in my prints or tell me if she flat out thought it was crap.”

“These two people really helped me a lot and made my time at Mercer unforgettable.”

Entering his final semester at Mercer this fall, Lang, like the rest of the college community, has been impacted by the lockdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he has found that the quarantines have offered him a creative boost, providing him more freedom and giving him, “no other option than to just go and create.”

He added, “I’ve been developing and scanning my own negatives for a few years now so I’m still able to continue with the development process.”

As Lang gets ready to pass the torch to another set of MCCC photography students, he encourages them to follow their passions as they create their art.

“Maybe you’re documenting what’s important to you, making a statement that you think others should know, or mixing photography with your hobbies and interests,” he said.

“Bring a camera with you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, don’t be afraid to shoot.”

Are you ready to help us keep our students on track to finish classes and graduate? Then share and support our MCCC Student Emergency Fund. Donating at, or by texting MercerMatters to 41444, will help keep students enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every dollar matters!


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Kyle Lang Self-Portrait

Kyle Lang, winner of the 2020 Thomas George Artist Fund.

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