This is another article from the Aiken Standard by Dede Biles about this years contest for the United Way, and I was fortunate to have five of the top nine winner. I think this will be my last year to enter, cause it will be hard to top that next year, and anything short of that, everybody will say, that I'm losing my touch! LOL....
"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."
This is an article from the Aiken Standard Newspaper by Stephanie Turner about the new photo display in the building as of July 2015, that I had the privilege of having seven of my photos included in this permanent display.
Assistant County Administrator Brian Sanders looks at the Aiken County Government Center as “the people’s building.”
To help depict such a notion, he and the rest of the building committee wanted to exhibit photos representing of all of the county and reached out to Anne Wood Uskup of Marketplace Art, which she runs with her husband Tom Uskup, and Tom and Chris Abbott of Southside Gallery of Aiken.
Uskup then contacted local photographer Shelly Marshall Schmidt of Oh Schmidt! Productions to help decorate the second floor.
"We’ve worked together on many other projects, but this one was fun to do,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt spent two weeks traveling and taking photos, narrowing down her massive pile to a handful for the committee.
Uskup did the framing, while Schmidt did the printing.
One photo the committee wanted but was difficult for Schmidt to take was the Bicentennial Wagon of South Carolina, which is housed in the Wagener Museum, so Schmidt obtained an archive photo from the museum and formatted it for the County building.
The Abbotts handled covering the first and third floors with photos either the committee provided or from photographers the couple knows. These included their photos and photos by Larry Gleason, Pat Paxton, Mark Hudson, Mike Kleiman and D.S. Owens.
Since Southside is considered a “one-stop shop,” according to Tom Abbott, the studio was able to print, frame and install their contributions.
Overall, about 60 photographs of noted buildings or nature scenes came out of these collaborations and have been hanging for less than a month.
"They are really beautiful,” Sanders said. “They both did a fantastic job.”
Showcasing local artwork in the facility has been a plan since at least fall 2013; the building opened last spring, the Aiken Standard reported.
Other artwork hangs in conference rooms in addition to a temporary exhibit on the first floor. The historical photos for this display originally came from the former Shoney’s restaurant on Whiskey Road, and the idea to hang them came from Gayle Wolman, Aiken County’s Human Resources director.
"They’re such great photos,” Sanders said.
The Aiken County Government Center is located at 1930 University Pkwy.
I only shoot what my Mind's Eye sees