"Our Aiken" photo contest auction benefits the United Way
By Dede Biles
Published Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:54 PM EDT
Even though the price kept rising, Renay Trotter kept bidding, and her determination paid off.
She got what she wanted during the live auction for the City of Aiken's second "Our Aiken" photo contest Thursday.
Trotter's $40 purchase was a black and white picture called "Train Depot" that James Perry had taken at the site of the old Aiken Railroad Depot.
"I am so happy," Trotter said. "I've been in Aiken all my life, and this is part of Aiken's history. I love Aiken."
The City of Aiken United Way Committee chose nine winning photographs. The pictures were enlarged and sold during the live auction outside of the Municipal Building. Inside, there was a silent auction that featured small prints of the winning pictures and other photos that were entered in this year's contest.
"We also had about 20 pictures from last year's silent auction," said Emory Langston, the City's Aiken's special projects coordinator.
Five of D.S. Owens' photos were among the winners.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "I don't know who the judges were, but I'll have to thank them."
Owens' winning photos included "Radiating" and "Path to Enlightenment," which both had been taken in Hopelands Gardens. His other winners were "Chestnut," "Aiken 4202," and "Gaston." The subject of "Chestnut" was a horse, and "Aiken 4202" was a train engine. "Gaston" was a photograph of the historic Gaston Livery Stable.
"I started taking photos when I was in the Navy," Owens said. "I wasn't any good at it for a long time, and then digital photography came along. That's what made the difference for me. I could see what I was doing wrong and then I worked on it. I was self-taught."
Nancy Moseley enjoyed looking at the winning photographs before the start of the live auction.
"I entered a whole bunch in the contest last year, and I wanted to see how the entries looked this year," she said. "They're very nice pictures, very pretty."
Moseley especially liked "Train Depot" and "Radiating."
"I've taken that one many times, but never at night in black and white," she said of "Train Depot."
Then Moseley pointed to "Radiating," which had a statue in the foreground, and said, "I like the way the morning light is coming in on it."
The winning photographs brought prices ranging from $20 to $45 during the live auction. USC Aiken's head baseball coach, Kenny "Coach T" Thomas, was the auctioneer.
"This was wonderful," said Langston afterward.
"I was extremely pleased with the turnout. I think the crowd really had fun."
The nine winning photographs will be highlighted in print and online promotions for the City of Aiken, Langston said.
In 2014, the proceeds from both the live and silent auctions went to the United Way of Aiken County, and the organization was the beneficiary again this year.
"It's such a nice thing for the City of Aiken to provide this wonderful event in support of the United Way," said Sharon Rodgers, president of the United Way of Aiken County. "It brings awareness to our mission, and it raises funds for our critical-need programs in the community."