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Image is everything 

Check out this year's winners, from all walks of life

click to enlarge bestoofshow.jpg
You photographers sure like animals. And flowers. And kids. And trees. And Morro Rock. And old people in other countries. And water. And light and shadow. I could go on, but why take up space with words about images when we could just show the images themselves?


With that in mind, I’ll be brief: This year’s Winning Images contest brought 751 entries to New Times. It was an astounding number of photographs from an astounding crop of local photographers. The three judges pored over each and every picture, black-and-white or color, digital or film, unadulterated or manipulated, professional or amateur. Over the course of a long evening, they saw everything—including the kitchen sink.


They also saw the character of our local talent. San Luis Obispo County photographers have a sense of humor, a playful attitude, and an eye for detail. They are dramatic and bold. Or they are hushed and understated. They like intense close-ups and wide, stretching vistas. They like everyday objects made to look like abstract art, unique perspectives, and new ways of seeing the world. They have a dark side, but they have an innocence, too.


In other words—and by now I’ve used far too many—local photographers are as varied as the landscapes, creatures, cars, flowers, doorknobs, boats, babies, musicians, streets, cacti, walls, and kids they capture with such skill each year.


Celebrate that diversity with this, New Times’ 14th annual Winning Images contest.


Contact Executive Editor Ryan Miller at [email protected].


Click on the photo below to view all of the winners:



 The Judges



Now the owner of the Photo Shop in San Luis Obispo, Messler graduated from Cal Poly after studying photography and photojournalism. She started her own freelance business in 1978, and opened her own camera store in 1995. When she’s not working in the shop, she said, you can usually find her walking on one of the local peaks, gardening, or searching for the next image.



The local artist and gallery owner is known for his unique layering processes, bold use of color, and the inclusion of urban art techniques in his work, amid a local art scene focused on landscapes, vineyards, and conservative patrons. The Claassen Gallery opened in 2004. Its vibrant, urban-inspired, attainably priced works have appealed to the youth and student population as well as contemporary collectors; the space ha become a touch point for many up-and-coming local artists. Claassen’s own work has been showcased in galleries throughout the U.S. and his products include limited-edition prints, clothing, books, and handmade wallets. Visit his gallery at 785 Marsh St. in SLO or see his online site



Tony Hertz has more than 25 years experience as a professional photographer, including 10 years as a daily photographer for the Tribune. He’s a photography instructor at Cuesta College and is a Trek Mentor with the American Photo and Popular Photography Mentor Series workshops. Tony’s work has been published internationally in magazines, newspapers, books, and postcards. He’s earned awards from the International Photography Awards, National Press Photographers Association, and the Associated Press. See and for his work.



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