JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Department of the Air Force announced the winners of the 2022 Air Force Photo Contest Nov. 7. The winners included Tech. Sgt. Amanda Schaefer from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, with “The Golden Tradition of Flight and Military Aviation,” which won second place in the adult novice category.
With a theme for 2022 of “Celebrating Traditions,” program managers at the Air Force Services Center honored the Air Force’s 75th Birthday and gave photographers a chance to share their family and cultural traditions to highlight the diversity of military families, said Susan Lear, AFSVC photo contest coordinator.
“Both the art contest (in the spring) and photo contest allow our military families to experience different things by giving them an opportunity to learn something new or fine-tune their craft or skill through creative expression,” Lear said.
“Art is a work in progress, always striving for perfection,” she said, “but it’s the flaws that give it beauty. Creating something reminds us we are a work in progress too, always learning new ways and accepting that some of our flaws are perfection in the end.”
James Compton, chief of the AFSVC’s Community and Leisure Programs Branch, sees photography from a different perspective.
“Anytime we’re able to see the world through someone else's eyes, it not only helps us understand them but it also allows us the opportunity to be a better, more rounded individual,” Compton said. “I think photography is an excellent way of doing just that. I have seen many photos that were absolutely beautiful, whether it was sad, moving or just truly beautiful.
“I have to admit, I doubt if I were in the moment that the photo was taken I wouldn’t have recognized the beauty for what it was. Seeing someone else's views of the world through photography allows us to see things we might have missed otherwise,” Compton said.
Nearly 400 shutterbugs submitted entries to this year’s photo contest with each evaluated by three judges for impact, creativity and technical excellence before awarding first, second and third place in five categories.
“We had a broad range of artistic and technical skill levels of participants from accomplished photographers to novices,” said Lear, with photographers as young as 6 years old.
Deciding on the winners wasn’t easy, added Kevin Watt, one of this year’s judges.
“The quality varied but amongst those I judged to be the best in each category, I had to really look closely to separate the very best from the rest,” he said. “Many of the photos gave you that ‘Oh wow!’ moment upon first seeing them and those photos immediately rose to the top of my scoring list.”
Here are this year’s winners:
First Place: Jackie Lundgren from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, with “Rose with a Bee”
Second Place: Tech. Sgt. Amanda Schaefer from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, with “The Golden Tradition of Flight and Military Aviation”
Third Place: Carl Grimaud from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, with “Water Lantern”
First Place: Grace Hong from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with “Chumash Chief”
Second Place: Emmanuel Alba from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, with “Incirlik Base Honor Guard”
Third Place: Sarah Anne Luigi from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, with “Pilgrimage to Mezquita”
First Place: Lydia Brown from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, with “Family History”
Second Place: Elijah Hipolito from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, with “Another Day the Sun Sets”
Third Place: Ellie Black from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, with “Pink Flowers”
First Place: Layne Knowles from Fairchild Air Force Base with “The Hidden Boot Tree”
Second Place: Phoebe Rain Strong from Fairchild Air Force Base with “Fishing with my Dad”
Third Place: Isaac Clement from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, with “Heroes Remembered”
First Place: Rylan Jack Mims from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, with “Sunshine in the Holy City”
Second Place: Brody Rector from Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, with “Lost but not Forgotten”
Third Place: Grace Elizabeth Greene from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, with “The Strongest Bond”
With this year’s photo contest complete, AFSVC is planning the 2023 Air Force Art Contest that opens in March.
To prepare for that contest, and next year’s photo contest, Lear recommends checking out your installation’s arts and craft center.
“See what classes are offered and sign up,” she said. “Our centers offer wonderful instructional classes in fine arts, photography, ceramics, jewelry making, quilting, woodworking and more.”
Watt offered additional advice for next year’s photographers.
“Pay attention to the theme,” he said. “It’s important to not just take a great photo. Take a great photo that states the theme out loud, without a long explanation.”