2023 Edmonds Photomarathon winners announced

The Rotary Club of Edmonds has selected the winners of the 2023 Edmonds Photomarathon.

Photographers who are professional, amateur and everyone in between were given six categories on the morning of June 10. They each had six hours to take as many photographs as they wished, but could only submit one photo for each category. No altering of the photographs were allowed with the exception of cropping. Photographers were allowed to use 35 mm cameras to smart phones. All photos needed to be uploaded by 4 p.m. that same day.

The name of the judge was kept secret until now. In fact, no one in the Rotary Club of Edmonds knew who the judge was with the exception of the Photomarathon chairperson. That was to ensure that no one could try to influence the judging.

With the judging now complete, the judge can be revealed: It was My Edmonds News reporter and photographer Larry Vogel. The uploaded photos were sent to Vogel without any names, in the event he happened to know any of the contestants.

All the winners have been notified and each was given a cash prize of $100 with the exception of one winner who happened to win in two categories.

Each winner has one more chance to win the big prize. On Sept. 15 and 16 at the Rotary Club of Edmonds Oktoberfest, each photograph will be on display at the Frances Anderson Center. The public will have a chance to vote on their favorite photo. The photograph with the most votes will win the People’s Choice award and a cash prize of $200,

Here are the current winning photographs in each category. With each photograph is an explanation from the judge as to why he chose that photo.

1) Nature’s Pattern

Winner: Vicki Rivers of Moses Lake, Washington

There’s much to see here, and each time I look at it I find something new. One day I’ll see a dragon (right in the center with the eye and the open mouth), another day it will look like the entry to a magic cave, and there’s the two lions staring each other down, and the stone troll face. Maybe you can’t see these right away, but keep looking and you’ll see more as your mind plays with the patterns and resolves them into something that maybe only you recognize. Good art – and by extension a good artistic photo – is an experience that’s different every time you view it

2) Doubled up

Winner: Dawn Adix of Edmonds

The composition, texture and colors really drew me to these twin Calceolaria flowers one. The background is nicely blurred and the flowers are crisply focused, forcing the viewer to experience the lush yet delicate texture of these blooms. Looking at this photo makes me want to reach out and touch their velvety surfaces.

3) Charity

Winner: Alan Sapalaran of Lynnwood

I love the choice of black and white for this entry. It would not have been nearly as powerful in color. The composition, while simple, is nothing short of superb. The crisply focused “Give” label stands out in stark, high-contrast relief to the softer-focused transition greys in of the coins. No one will mistake this message.

4) Up Close and Personal

Winner:  Vicki Rivers of Moses Lake, Washington

This eye-to-eye encounter with another species is almost unsettling at first glance. Lots of emotion here.  It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and staring into the eye you can’t help but wonder what – or who – is behind it. Those who maintain animals lack souls need only look into this eye – something is going on in there. There’s an intelligence, an awareness. And it takes an up-close-and- personal examination to be aware of it.

5) Bugs and Insects

Winner: Molly Ottele of Snohomish

This one really blew me away. Talk about in your face! The Walking Stick’s aggressive posture suggests the photographer surprised it, and it immediately went into a “don’t mess with me” mode. The long, almost painfully thin legs evoke Tim Burton’s Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas. The focus is crisp, and the insect’s tan legs contrast well with the background of green fuchsia leaves and reddish branches. This is another one you’ll come back and look at many times. Frame this one and hang it someplace where it can be seen.

6) A Bit on the Side

Winner: Gina Minato of Seattle

This was a tough category to judge. I eventually went with this – a familiar scene from Seattle’s Volunteer Park but shown in a new way. Most photographers will naturally try to place the Space Needle in the hole of artist Isamu Noguchi’s Black Sun, but this composition turns this around and gives the viewer something unexpected. The stark contrast of the heavy black obsidian and the wispy Space Needle partially obscured by mist creates a dissonance that keeps drawing my eye – and I’ll bet your eye too.

  1. The winner of #4, Up Close and Personal told me when I notified her that her photo had won, she said that this pet had recently passed away. She wasn’t expecting to win but was pleased to see her furbaby’s photo was a winner! I couldn’t help but reflect on the judge’s comments about the eyes being the windows to the soul.

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