Photo contest winners: Images of Illinois

Prairie Art Alliance contest yields impressive local talent

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click to enlarge Images of Illinois Best in Show, “Prairie Barn,” a photograph by RT McDonald of Springfield, taken near Dwight. McDonald spied the barn several times from I-55 before finally having time to stop to capture this stunning mixture of
Images of Illinois Best in Show, “Prairie Barn,” a photograph by RT McDonald of Springfield, taken near Dwight. McDonald spied the barn several times from I-55 before finally having time to stop to capture this stunning mixture of


The contest winners will be displayed at Gallery II, at 2 South Old State Capitol Plaza. Gallery II is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nearly 400 photographs were submitted by 117 Illinois amateur photographers to the first Prairie Art Alliance Images of Illinois Amateur Photography Contest, sponsored by Illinois Times. The images speak a thousand truths as to how passion can push out impressive talent.

“These images are so amazing we want everyone to see them,” explains contest director, PAA Gallery II manager and all-around visual arts mover-and-shaker Jennifer Snopko. “So, we’re projecting and rotating all 400 images digitally onto the wall of the gallery during the exhibition opening. We hope everyone will come out to the reception to see what talent there is in central Illinois.”

The highlight of the evening will be the gallery showing of the 24 winning photos by 19 contestants. Each of these photos will remain on exhibit until the middle of May.

Contest rules required that photos be taken in Illinois within the last two years. A panel of three professional photographers judged entries in three categories – people, places and things – awarding a first, second and third-place winner, and honorable mentions. Best of Show was selected from the winning entries.

Best in Show, awarded to RT McDonald of Springfield for his photograph, “Prairie Barn,” is featured above and on the cover. McDonald captured a stunning interplay between motionless emptiness and strokes of movement and life in cloud, foliage and barn wood. He will be presented with a matted print of his photograph by RMD Gallery along with a print and frame from Russenmeyer Photography and a frame from CVS Pharmacy at South Grand Ave.

First, second and third place winners will receive a PAA gift certificate, besides having his or her work published here in Illinois Times – their first notification that their shots were selected as winners.

Snopko calls the PAA fundraiser, “a success.” She credits Jim Edwards, a local arts teacher and PAA artist member, as the brainchild of the idea to hold a photography contest, adding that the idea floated around for a couple years until coming to fruition this year.

 PAA has a history of supporting emerging and established artists of all ages. The nonprofit visual arts organization provides classes to members and the public and operates two galleries where members’ works are for view and sale. H.D. Smith Gallery is in the Hoogland Center for the Arts and Gallery II, where the contest winners will be displayed, is at 2 South Old State Capitol Plaza. Gallery II is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anita Stienstra is calendar editor of Illinois Times.

The Images of Illinois Amateur Photography Contest exhibit reception is Thursday, March 29 from 5-7 p.m. at Gallery II on the square. It is open to the public. Music will be provided by Pete Sander, and there will be hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

People category


First place
, Frannie Buescher of Springfield for “Hidden,” showing a woman with a mask and red hair.


Second place
, Ann Frescura of Springfield for “Daddy’s Girl – Rylan Rochelle Anastacia.” an original black and white image portrait.

click to enlarge Third place, Lauren Williams of Springfield for “It Don’t Mean a Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing.” Williams captured swinging in springtime at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
Third place, Lauren Williams of Springfield for “It Don’t Mean a Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing.” Williams captured swinging in springtime at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Third place
, Lauren Williams of Springfield for “It Don’t Mean a Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing.” Williams captured swinging in springtime at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Honorable mentions:


Brieana McCauley


Robert Leffler


Jonathan Benning


Places category

click to enlarge First place, Shawn Hunt of Lombard for “Foggy Night.” Hunt shot this photograph on a late night in Lombard as the fog moved through the trees.
First place, Shawn Hunt of Lombard for “Foggy Night.” Hunt shot this photograph on a late night in Lombard as the fog moved through the trees.


First place,
Shawn Hunt of Lombard for “Foggy Night.” Hunt shot this photograph on a late night in Lombard as the fog moved through the trees.

click to enlarge Second place, Adam Smith of Springfield for “Meet you at the Crossroads.” Smith tries to grab the viewer’s attention. “This image was structured to capture the movement of the clouds and the sign with the t
Second place, Adam Smith of Springfield for “Meet you at the Crossroads.” Smith tries to grab the viewer’s attention. “This image was structured to capture the movement of the clouds and the sign with the t


Second place,
Adam Smith of Springfield for “Meet you at the Crossroads.” Smith tries to grab the viewer’s attention. “This image was structured to capture the movement of the clouds and the sign with the train.”

click to enlarge Third place, Tom Ala of Springfield for “Ginkgo Yellow.” Ala’s photo was taken in Washington Park during the fall of 2010.
Third place, Tom Ala of Springfield for “Ginkgo Yellow.” Ala’s photo was taken in Washington Park during the fall of 2010.

Third place,
Tom Ala of Springfield for “Ginkgo Yellow.” Ala’s photo was taken in Washington Park during the fall of 2010.

Honorable mentions:


Harry Orr


Michael Walwer


Richard Dupont


Things category


First place, Deb Perschbacher of Pawnee for “In Stride.” Perschbacher caught this interesting shot of a bug crawling on a window in Pawnee.

click to enlarge Second place, Liz Bennett Cheek of Spring Lake for “And They Said We Didn’t Have a Leg to Stand On.” Liz caught a pair of geese in a precarious pose on a dock in Tazewell County.
Second place, Liz Bennett Cheek of Spring Lake for “And They Said We Didn’t Have a Leg to Stand On.” Liz caught a pair of geese in a precarious pose on a dock in Tazewell County.

Second place, Liz Bennett Cheek of Spring Lake for “And They Said We Didn’t Have a Leg to Stand On.” Liz caught a pair of geese in a precarious pose on a dock in Tazewell County.

click to enlarge Third place, Adam Smith, Springfield. “Ambient Intimacy” is all about shadows, available lighting and angles. Smith adds, “The flower symbolizes beauty and lighting symbolizes intimacy.”
Third place, Adam Smith, Springfield. “Ambient Intimacy” is all about shadows, available lighting and angles. Smith adds, “The flower symbolizes beauty and lighting symbolizes intimacy.”

Third place, Adam Smith, Springfield. “Ambient Intimacy” is all about shadows, available lighting and angles. Smith adds, “The flower symbolizes beauty and lighting symbolizes intimacy.”

Honorable mention:


Anna Davidson


Les Warden


Adam Smith


Children 12 and under category

click to enlarge First place, Ty Dyson, Chatham. Five-year-old Ty Dyson took this photograph, “A Sunset to Remember,” of the setting sun on the west side of the Village of Chatham
First place, Ty Dyson, Chatham. Five-year-old Ty Dyson took this photograph, “A Sunset to Remember,” of the setting sun on the west side of the Village of Chatham


First place,
Ty Dyson, Springfield. Five-year-old Ty Dyson took this photograph, “A Sunset to Remember,” of the setting sun on the west side of the village of Chatham.

Honorable mentions:


Ty Dyson


Nolan Phillips

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