Edmonds Rotary announces 2021 Photomarathon Winners

Best in Show winner: “This is Me” by Molly Ottele

Winners have been announced in the annual Edmonds Rotary Photomarathon, which drew a record number of photo buffs June 12. Photos were captured during the six-hour contest period, with each photographer providing their unique interpretation of six topics. The event is one of only two in the U.S. and benefits Edmonds Rotary community service projects and the scholarship fund.

The tough task of judging the entries went to My Edmonds News photographer/reporter Larry Vogel, who admitted to “losing some sleep” while pondering the merits of each submission.

“I am impressed with the body of talent, artistic expression and overall creativity that went into this year’s entries,” Vogel said.

Molly Ottele won the Photomarathon’s Best in Show, reflecting the best interpretation of all categories, for her photo on the topic of This Is Me. Vogel described Ottele’s entry as “an amazing image that captures multiple vertical levels and dimensions in a single shot. Closest to the camera are the plants growing out of the partially submerged log. One level down, the water’s surface reflects not only the clouds, but the image of the photographer. The final level shows the bottom of the pool, repeating the shadow of the photographer (a very special touch) and adding the crisscrossed debris. It’s one of those complex photos where every time you look at it you see something new,” Vogel said.

“Best in Show was a very hard choice, but there’s so much going on in this photo,” he said. “The more you look at it, the more you see. I found it both cerebral and intellectually challenging. You could almost base a course on it. In the end, it was this consideration that pushed it over the top as Best in Show.”

Best of Show runner up was awarded to Heather Gyselman for her interpretation of the category “Wet”

Best of Show runner up was awarded to Heather Gyselman for her interpretation of the category Wet. “Joy, youthful exuberance, color, action and motion come together in this shot that’s sure to bring a smile to the face of even the glummest curmudgeon,” Vogel said. ” The red, orange and blue color seem stolen from a bowl of rainbow sherbet and just scream summer. They provide the perfect backdrop to a child’s moment of joy and splashing water. It’s a summer afternoon frozen in time. Pull this one out some dreary winter day, and let it be summer just for a moment.”

The other 2021 Photomarathon Winners, by category, are:


Yellow by Vicki Rivers. Vogel said this photo is “a great example of seeing something special in an everyday object. The monumental tractor wheel and tire dominate the photo, drawing attention to its weight, size, symmetry, and color. But the art is in the details, specifically the imperfections — especially the partially flat tire and the spots of rust. This is no showroom tractor — it works for a living. Its youthful glory days may be past, but it’s strong and still has plenty of chores ahead — a metaphor for all of us as we move through life’s many stages.”

“Do You See What I See?”

Do You See What I See? by Frances Vanderbeck. “The true creative art in photography (and indeed all other art forms) involves seeing ordinary things in different ways,” Vogel wrote about why he selected this winning entry. ” This image captures a face formed by knots and tree growth patterns exposed in a weathered fence board.  It reminds me of the famous work by Picasso, which he created in a spark of inspiration by seeing a bull’s head in a discarded set of handlebars and a bicycle seat.  These unremarkable objects are an everyday part of our surroundings, and there may be similar ones gathering dust in your garage or shed — but it took the genius of Picasso to see them differently and the result is an enduring work of art.


Connected by Heather Gyselman. “This image encapsulates the love and ‘connectedness’ of the child with what we assume are family members on the screen, as they share the familiar heart-hand gesture,” Vogel wrote. “Viewing this photo, one can literally feel the emotions and the bond flowing between the child and the woman on the screen. It is another timely message of how love ties us together despite the separation many suffered through during the pandemic shutdown, and how despite this love finds a way to connect, in this case via technology. The message comes through – even in the depths of the pandemic, love is stronger than COVID.”

“After Quarantine”

After Quarantine by Erich Hayner.  This winning photo, Vogel said, “captures the emotions inherent in the forced separation of loved ones across generations imposed by the COVID shutdown.  The obvious age difference of the two hands (and the fact that the older hand is in partial shadow) encapsulates the joy, emotion and intimacy we are again able to experience as we reconnect physically with those dear to us, grandparents once again hug grandchildren, and the time of COVID-imposed separations slowly fades.”

A reception to honor the winners and to display prints of all the submitted photos is planned for later this summer. Each winner will receive gift certificates to a local restaurant. Community sponsors include The Hagen Firm, Purcell Legal, Krause & Thorpe Wealth Management at RBC Wealth Management, Sherry and Gary, and Magic Photo.


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