When the winners were being announced Saturday at the annual Photopia photo/exhibition, three photographers’ names kept coming up.
Jean Francois Dupont, an airman at CFB Comox, photographer Lia Sommer, and Grade 9 student Sophie Groves were all declared multiple winners.
Dupont won first and second in the Open category, plus third in Extreme Selfies, while Groves won first and second in Youth – Manipulated Images. Sommer won first in Open – Manipulated Images and third in Open – Manipulated Images.
The other winners were: Diana Tran, first in Youth, followed by Theo Dominick and Samantha Rae Harris in second and third. Kerry Dawson took second place in Open – Manipulated Images, followed by her sister Kristy Knowlan in third.
Charlie Jeffers won third in Youth – Manipulated Images, while Alex Boyko and Wendy Nixon-Stothert won second in the Extreme Selfies category.
During the selection process, the judges purposely viewed only the 625 images submitted, without the names of the photographers (although some images contained names in watermarks). The judges were then surprised to see what they had chosen came from some of the same photographers.
“They were just that good,” said panel member MaryAnne Kuzma.
“Comox Valley photographers really ran with it when we said we were looking for the ‘wow’ factor,” said Photopia organizer Jamie Bowman.
“The submissions were really impressive, especially when viewed on those top-end TVs loaned by London Drugs and McKay’s Electronics. There was not a single ordinary image.”
Close to $1,000 in prizes was handed out from generous sponsors Best Buy, Sure Copy, Horne Lake Caves, Affordable Framing, Staples, McKay’s, London Drugs, North Island College and an anonymous patron.
The ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ images showed in the Courtenay Library, while the ‘Extreme Selfies’ component continues its part of the CVAG/Comox Valley Arts self-portraiture show, ‘Then and Now’, showing at the Comox Valley Art Gallery until June 30.
Photopia was part of Elevate arts festival in downtown Courtenay June 1-4, which drew a crowd of thousands.
The jury of photography experts included Lisa Graham of Seadance Photography, London Drugs photo lab manager MaryAnne Kuzma, NIC fine arts department head Linda Perron and Bob Bell of the Comox Valley Camera Club.
The winning images will be posted soon at Elevatethearts.com/photopia and ComoxValleyArts.com.