Picture This! Photo Contest Entries To Get Showcased At Whit’s

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Back in February, we opened the call, and the community answered by sending in their hottest shots for The Rockaway Times Third Annual Photo Contest. And according to contest organizer, John Cori, who disclosed that this year he will also be one of the judges, with more than 750 submissions received, it’s crystal clear that Rockaway’s hot shot photo takers stepped up their game for a chance to win not only the grand prize of 500 bucks, but also bragging rights of being the community’s bomb photographer.

On Sunday, April 29, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the notoriously popular Whit’s End (97-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd), for the first time, the public will not only get the chance to check out the photos, but assist in the first round of judging. The 4 x 6 prints will be on display at Whit’s, where the public will be given a set of stickers to choose their favorite images in each category, assisting the official panel of six judges with the daunting first round of whittling down the more than 750 photos to just 30, which will go to the semifinal round.

“This year, folks definitely stepped up their game. For example, for the first time, there were zero square shots, which most folks usually take with their smartphones. Also, there was a lot more creativity with animals and sunset shots. People even staged photos incorporating various media and body movements. For example, there is one staged on the beach with a mannequin’s head placed on some type of mound. Amazing! How’d they think of that? There is also one with a family on the beach spelling out the word, “LOVE.” I could go on about the range of photos we received clearly reflecting love for everything Rockaway. We have amazing photographers in our community, and it will be a huge challenge for the judges to select which go into the semi final,” Cori said.

Co-sponsoring the photo contest are the NYC Parks Department, the Jamaica Bay – Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), NYCFerry, and the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA), who all contribute their resources to make the contest a keynote event on Rockaway’s summer calendar.

This year, the five categories are Jamaica Bay, Beach Life, The Ferry, Rockaway Action Shots, and Pets. Only two entries per category were permitted, meaning up to 10 photos total.

After the photos are narrowed down at Whit’s, the top 30 will go on to the next round. All of these semi-finalists will be printed on large 2 x 3-foot posters, which will be displayed along the boardwalk at elected points (info to come), thanks to the Parks Department. The photos will be up in time for the beach opening ceremony, starting on May 25, and will remain until July.

The top 30 photos will then undergo a second round of judging sometime in mid-August, this time exclusively by the public with assistance from Cori, who has been instrumental in making this contest possible from its genesis.

After the public judging in mid-August, the top 30 will be narrowed down to a top 10. The final judging will take place at Caracas at the Beach 106th Concession at the end of August. There, the winner will be announced. The top photo winner will take home a $500 grand prize from the RT and will get front-page recognition.

JBRPC's executive director, Alex Zablocki, said that the photo contest showcases Rockaway at its finest. “We supported the contest from the first year because it’s an important event to celebrate the community’s open spaces with the RT, local civic groups and residents. These photos represent Rockaway’s beauty and magic, and offer an array of creative viewpoints, not just for locals to appreciate, but visitors. Picking this year’s winner is going to be daunting, but we are all definitely up for the challenge!”

Stay tuned to the RT for more exciting details in upcoming editions.

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