My thoughts before winning Best in Show award...


I kissed my husband (on his way out to celebrate his mom's birthday) goodbye and said, "Have fun! I'm off to win a photography competition!" in that overly confident way that really means, Oh dear god, please let me win because it would be such icing on the cake that is this amazing project. And then I got there and was overwhelmed with the number of submissions! Many of the photographs were abstractions of nature, gorgeous landscapes, and animals, which echoed, quite nicely, the work of the man the competition was named after--Fran Achen. I, very literally, was one of maybe two or three photographers who had humans as subjects, and that made my stomach drop. Had I entered incorrect subject matter? I wandered, admiring the beautiful work done by local photographers, and voted on one of them for the Viewers Choice competition the Whitewater Arts Alliance also runs toward the end of the month when the exhibition is almost over. And of course, like a giddy child with their artwork on display, I had to sneak a photo of my exhibit.

Fran Achen Photography Competition: The Body Project Exhibit, Whitewater, WI

When the ceremony began, the gentleman introducing the winners of each category (Youth, Teen, Adult Amateur, and Adult Accomplished) explained why each photo was chosen: interesting compositions, leading lines, fun shapes, framing with natural subject matter, great use of all the grays in a black and white image, etc. I kept going back and forth in my mind, You're likely not going to win. You didn't photograph nature (as Fran Achen would have perhaps preferred). Your work simply captures a person, dead center, with absolutely no other interesting photography techniques involved. Yes. Professional photographers worry their asses off, too!

As they set out the three winning images for the Adult Accomplished category, my heart sank. I hadn't won. I checked my phone for the time, wondering if I could slip out and be on time for meeting with a client to deliver her images. Instead, I decided to stay to support the final winners. Obviously leaving would be incredibly rude. So, I texted my client that I was in the middle of a photography awards ceremony and would be a little late.

When all was said and done and the butterflies had subsided with my acceptance of not fitting this particular competition, the gentleman said, "And now for the Best in Show award, which goes to Katy Wimer," as he set one of my seven photographs on the easel.

Oh my god, my whole body is numb. I can't believe that just happened. Is this real life? I forgot about the Best in Show award!

The gentleman explained that he and the other judge chose my photograph separately before sharing with each other which photograph they wanted to award Best in Show! They both agreed it was visually and conceptually grabbing. They loved the pose, the simplicity of the black and white, and how the affirmation "More than just a body..." had depth to it and said so much with so little.

Best in Show award winning photograph-Fran Achen Photography Competition: The Body Project, Whitewater, WI

He asked me to come to the front of the room to explain the project to everyone, which I was happy to do, but I was so excited I was shaking and overly smiley. Lol! The best part was the intense nods from everyone when I finished with, "The Body Project is for positively affirming ourselves in a society that most certainly has too many stereotypes of how women should look. We're trying to change that." <3


Best in Show Award happy face!

Moral of the story: be humble. Always be humble. I am so grateful to everyone for your love of and support for this project. Good things are happening, and good things will continue to happen because this is all about love! I plan to put my winnings toward our gallery night and reception/party in the fall! So this one's for all of you!

Best in Show Award-Fran Achen Photography Competition: The Body Project, Whitewater, WI







Please show your support to the Whitewater Arts Alliance. Pop into their exhibits if you live in town or visit the area. They feature great stuff! This is where I'm hoping to have The Body Project gallery, as well, so show some love. :)


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