September Photo Challenge Winners: Life Lessons

Scroll down to see September’s Photo Challenge winners…

And, remember: September was the last month of this year’s Photo Challenge. This month, it’s up to you to vote for the 2010 Grand Prize-winning photo. I’ll send the details on how to vote tomorrow.

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

October 5, 2010
The Right Way to Travel

By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR

Last month’s Photo Challenge theme was “Life Lessons.” As life is full of lessons around us all the time, I was pleased to see an array of photos depicting a wide swath of those moments. I was unable to reach the previous winner from August to be our guest judge, so the task of picking all the winners fell to me this time. In the end, I was torn between six shots… here are the winners.

** First Place goes to bening8 for “Crystal Passion”

** Second Place goes to Artrospection for “Dad and Daughter”

** Third Place goes to suelee10901 for “Capturing The Beauty”

** Honorable Mention goes to therattmoberts for “young minds are not small”


Life Lessons

An entire story is included in this photo, from the book laid out in front to the young woman busy doing her craft. Initially, I might have said the image was cluttered. But as I spent more time looking at it, I considered how things are made and how our daily lives operate in tandem with modern technology (the computer and phone). These things, alongside the varied tools of her creation, brought the whole image together in a truthful way. I like the processing and the composition of the scene, which allow all of the stuff to tell the story.


This is a very “high key” image (meaning intense contrast) -- in this case, basically solid blacks and solid whites. For stock photography and/or illustrative purposes, things of this nature can work very well. The human element and the relationship of parent and child are predominant subjects. Life lessons of learning to ride a bike, enjoying the outdoors, and an active lifestyle are apparent. The composition is strong with very little to distract from the subject.


I love the perspective of this shot, both looking over the artist’s shoulder, seeing her art and the subject of it out in front of her, as well as the leading lines of the path that is also reflected in her piece. The sun is bright, looks to be just an hour or so from noon, which is not the best time of day for photography, and yet the exposure is good with nothing critical falling into total shadow or the opposite extreme of blown-out highlights. The position of the artist is strong. My only recommendation might be to include the rest of the woman's shadow at the bottom of the shot. When shadows are very dark and well-defined, they can be used as an interesting element in the shot, almost a continuation of the main subject.


A very interesting shot, with creative processing. The photographer took a wide angle perspective here, which fits very well with the description of the photo, “the message is supposed to be that inspiration comes from everywhere.” The vast sky really helps to encourage that feeling and tell that story. Compositionally, it feels a bit too centered, yet for the intended idea of vastness and “all around us,” it seems to work.

Congratulations to each of our winners this month and best of luck to everyone competing for this year’s Grand Prize!!

This month’s first-place winner will get a $30 gift certificate to the AWAI E-Bookstore, and all of this month’s winners will be entered into the Hall of Fame, to compete for the $2,000 Grand Prize. Voting begins this week -- details coming soon.

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Perry from Portland, Oregon, specializes in people photography, what she calls documentary or lifestyle portraits. She is known especially for her imaging of children. Shelly’s concern for people is reflected both in her sense of purpose and the images she produces.  Her images have been seen all over the globe on music CD covers, books, magazines, catalogues, websites, ad campaigns, and even on TV. Her work has also appeared in several local exhibits and gallery shows.]

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