Kodak introduced the Gallery Awards in 1985 as a way to honor and promote the importance and value of excellence in professional photography.
Kodak has always represented quality imaging through its many products and services and will continue to work to elevate the importance of professional, quality imaging within the industry, as well as with customers. It's a connection we're pleased to make.
We are delighted, more than 30 years later, to salute and support outstanding professional photography and photographers by presenting the annual KODAK Gallery Elite Award.
As a wedding and maternity photographer, Francie Baltazar Stonestreet strives to capture images that are both soft and ethereal. Her first place photo, aptly titled “Heaven Sent,” is a carefully composed portrait of a newborn. Shot using only natural lighting, judges praised the photo for it’s beautiful tones and expressive quality. This is her first Kodak Gallery Elite grand-prize.
“Heaven Sent” came to be when a former wedding client asked Francie to shoot a portrait of her newborn daughter. Francie aspires to create a sense of softness and sweetness when working with infants. She chose to use KODAK PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Paper with a matte finish to further convey the softness theme.
As a photographer, Francie finds something magical about taking a photograph – one that can never be recreated. “There’s something truly soulful about capturing that essence and then sharing it with a client,” she said. “It’s a privilege to preserve memories and create a legacy for clients that will last from a single photo.”
FireHeart Photography – Kingwood, TX
Trudy Evans says that when most people meet her, they’re quick to comment on how “down-to-earth” she is and how comfortable she makes others feel. Her photos exude a similar essence, particularly her award winning “The Power of Light.” Her secret for capturing the experience? “I look for the life in the image,” says Trudy who specializes in wildlife and women’s portraiture. “Almost everything I shoot is within a mile of my home. I want to show people that beauty is everywhere.”
A self-taught photographer, Trudy captures the beauty of women in her photos, saying that all women deserve to feel beautiful. When she shot “The Power of Light,” she was making a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her sister early one morning, the rising sun backlighting a forested area, creating a mysterious setting. Trudy immediately pulled over and began shooting. It was the last trip they shared together before her sister passed away. “I knew this was a photo I had to submit. I cry when I see it – the mysterious air of the light and trees makes me feel my sister’s presence. It reminds me to slow down and see the beauty around me.” Judges praised the image for its “impressive use of light, highlights, and color”.
Transitions Photography – Stanton, MI
Kimberly Smith, who won first place in last year’s KODAK Gallery Elite, views competitions as a way to experiment and take creative chances. She looks to bring that creative spark back into her photography practice where she focuses on senior class pictures and family portraiture.
Kimberly likes to use emotional images to tell stories about relationships. Her winning photo, “Love Birds,” is a composite of two birds and a creative design that she painted. The images were captured at a local zoo she was visiting with her son. While passing through the bird exhibit, she took a series of photos of parakeets. One stood out. “I knew immediately, as soon as I captured it, that I was going to enter it into competition,” she says. Judges praised the photograph for its “original and creative perspective and soft tones.”
Kimberly got the photography bug when she used to regularly scrapbook with her children. She found that she was often disappointed that her photos on paper didn’t look the way they did in her mind. She decided to do something about it and bought a professional camera, enlisted a local photographer as a mentor, and joined the PPA.
CK Fine Portraits – Muskogee, OK
Ted York knows that sometimes the best things are completely unplanned. A former Air Force and commercial pilot, Ted retired sixteen years ago with no real plan to go into photography. An enthusiast photographer since he received his first BROWNIE camera at the age of six, his creative drive spurred him to fully embrace photography full time. He views his work as painting by camera. “I have an artistic look to images, particularly portraits, without having to do digital painting,” says Ted.
His Gallery Award winning “Rib Eye” is a perfect example of Ted’s photographic style. While visiting a cattle ranch in Randolph, Utah and planning to shoot portraits of cowboys, Ted’s vision quickly changed when he realized the cowboys were really just workers in jeans and t-shirts. He decided to make the shoot about the animals instead, leading to his capturing the stunning image of a cow staring through the slat railing of a truck. Judges praised his photo for its “crisp details and deep tones.”
Ted is a big proponent of printing photos. “I tell everyone to print, print, print. Photos are our heritage and can take us back in time to relive specific moments. This may be the most photographed generation but there are no pictures in the attic. You can’t easily pass the cloud down to your kids and grandkids the way you can a printed image.”
Ted York Photography – Alpine, UT