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Whew!

You made the 2003 Kentucky Living photo contest seem like a fantastical roller coaster ride that dipped and curled and stopped on a mountaintop at sunrise.

The excitement started as the entries from readers poured in by the boxload after the full-page notices in the February and March issues of Kentucky Living. We worried how we would ever sort through all the envelopes. You sent in 5,422 photos—a whole lot more than we expected. Excitement grew as we started looking at some of the pictures and saw a lot of very fine photography.

The stunning payoff came the morning of the judging, when four professional photographers arrived at our offices and spread the finalists out on tables. The images struck us like a spectacular vista: beautiful and emotional faces, inviting scenery, stunning wildlife, hilarious pets.

Then we started to realize what an enormously difficult job lay just ahead—to narrow the thousands of photos to the top 21: one overall winner plus the top four places in each of five categories: Scenic, Wildlife, Pets, Children, and Teens and Adults.

We discussed, we agonized, we argued. The judges said they lost their breath when they saw how many entries were first delivered to their homes. But none complained. Instead, they talked about the joy of looking at so many great photos. They pleaded with me to be sure and tell you that if your picture didn’t win, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an outstanding photograph. It’s just that there were so many outstanding photographs.

The winners will receive $200 for the one best overall photo, $100 for first place in each category, and $50 each for second, third, and fourth place in each category.

A special congratulations goes out to A.L. Perry and Lisa Gibbs Young for the impressive achievement of each submitting two winning photos. Getting selected twice to be in the top 21 out of more than 5,000 photos offers convincing proof that these two Kentuckians have extraordinary talent in photography.

Thank you, and congratulations to everyone who entered for a great ride with a wonderful result.

We chose the first-place winner from the Teens and Adults category as the July magazine cover photo. It was taken by Lisa Gibbs Young of Bowling Green, a member of Warren Rural Electric Cooperative. It shows a woman dancer at the Trail of Tears Memorial Pow Wow in Hopkinsville in 2002. Click on the links below to see the winning pictures.

Enjoy.

CONTEST CATEGORIES
Best Overall Winner
Teens and Adults
Wildlife
Children
Scenic
Pets

KENTUCKY LIVING PHOTO CONTEST JUDGESs
Jim Battles lives in New Albany, Indiana, and has been a contributing photographer to Kentucky Living since 1990. A graduate of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, he has been freelancing for nearly 20 years. You can visit his Web site at www.battlesphoto.com.

Joe Imel is in his 12th year at the Daily News in Bowling Green where he is the photo editor for the 23,000-circulation newspaper. He is in his third term as president of the Kentucky News Photographers Association. Imel is also an adjunct faculty member in Western Kentucky University’s award-winning photojournalism department. His work has appeared in several publications including Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, Fortune, and USA Today. He was the KNPA Sports Photographer of the Year in 2000 and has won numerous photography awards.

George Mead, who lives in Lexington, has been a commercial photographer since 1985, focusing on advertising, tourism, and editorial photography. He received an Addy award and five citations of excellence from the American Advertising Federation, a Traverse award for tourism photography, and an award from the Great American Photography Workshops. He has also exhibited his work in the Lexington area.

Jeff Rogers has a B.A. in Art from Transylvania University in Lexington, and has owned a commercial photography business in Lexington for more than 15 years. He is a regional representative for TakeGreatPictures.com, a Web site hosted by all the major photography equipment manufacturers. Some of Jeff’s work can be seen at www.JeffRogers.com.

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