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The Winners: ‘Valley News’ Photo Contest

Saturday, March 22, 2014
The Selection Process: A panel of Valley News judges looked at 597 entries for this year’s Valley News Amateur Photography Contest, narrowing them down to 24 finalists. The finalists were displayed at the HomeLife Expo at Leverone Field House in Hanover on March 14-16. Visitors cast 1,050 ballots to choose first, second and third places.


'Organic Hair Spray': Call it a happy accident. Valerie Farias Newton was leading a dance camp last summer in Cornish Flat when one of her students, Ivy Horner-Richardson, waded into a swimming hole, dunked her head in and threw it back, sending an arc of water flying. Newton, a dance and gymnastics teacher in Cornish, also likes to take pictures, and when she saw Horner-Richardson swing her hair, she knew it would be a good photograph. So she had her do it again, and then she had the other students line up to try the same move. But Horner-Richardson’s photo was “the only one that came out that way, with her energy and speed,” Newton said.

The photograph wasn’t taken using fancy or sophisticated equipment, Newton said with a laugh. It was one of those cameras you pick up in a drugstore or supermarket. After the picture was developed, Newton showed it to friends who persuaded her to enter it in the Valley News contest. And bingo, she won first place.


'Contessa and the Cowboy: Jonathan Ryba, a former firefighter turned freelance photographer, had made a habit of following local fire departments to calls. In early February, when he heard on his scanner that Newbury, N.H. furniture store Contessa & the Cowboy was ablaze, he grabbed his camera and headed out.

The Newport resident arrived at a building engulfed by flames. He followed firefighters around the back of the building, where the fire grew, and then to the front, where he captured his photo as a firefighter attempted to ventilate the roof.

“It was really stubborn,” Ryba said of the fire.

In just several seconds, he got about 15 similar frames with his Canon 6D camera In one of the other photos taken in that span, he said, it looks like there’s a beast in the fire.

Though the intensity of the moment created a suitably dramatic image, Ryba recognized that his success was another’s misfortune.

“Contessa and the Cowboy is an old famous place in Newbury,” he said. “It was really sad to see it go.”


'4 Generations of Doyle Men': Kelly Doyle has taken photographs since she was a girl, but this third-prize-winning photograph was the first she’d entered in a contest.

She took the photographs that she combined into the final image over the course of two months in 2012. Starting with a picture of her two sons, Ethan, 6, and Ronan, 4, she continued through the generations of the Doyle men, all of Chelsea. She photographed her husband, Shannon, 35, his father, James Doyle, 59, and James’ father, Merlin “Tuffy” Doyle with her Canon Rebel T3 digital camera, printing and framing each image from youngest to oldest.

She and her husband have a copy of the photograph in their home, and she presented copies of them in late fall of 2012 to the two previous generations. That meant Tuffy Doyle had the photograph of his son, grandson and great-grandsons on his wall for a little over a year before he passed away, at age 88, on Feb. 4. “Especially now that Tuffy is gone, it’s just an amazing thing to have,” Kelly Doyle said. “I’m glad I was able to complete this picture and get it all done before I couldn’t anymore.”

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