Talented shutterbugs have entered their prized photographs in a contest hosted by the Belen Art League.
This is the third annual “Enchanted Images” photography contest conducted by the league, but this is the first year such substantial cash prizes will be awarded.
There are two categories, adult and youth, and each has a first, second and third place. Each first place winner will receive $150, each second place wins $75 and each third place wins $40.
The prize money was generously donated by a Belen Art League member who wishes to remain anonymous, said Robert Fink, contest committee member.
“The cash prizes are more generous than last year,” Fink said. “Usually, winners just received a ribbon.”
All entries had to be photographs of New Mexico subjects taken anywhere within the state.
“The pictures could be of flowers, or somebody’s backyard picnic,” said Laura Anderson, contest co-chairwoman and league member. “It didn’t matter as long as it was in the state. New Mexico has such a wide variety of scenery, landscapes and people, and there’s just so much that’s beautiful here, we want to show as much of it as we can.”
The contest was open to any resident of the state, but most of the contestants are from within Valencia County.
“We just wanted to get as many people involved as we possibly can,” said Anderson. “There’s a lot of talent out there.”
The photographs had to be signed, framed and each entrant could submit two photographs, and nearly 40 people participated.
“I think it’s exciting we have so many entries,” said Cheryl Mina Colston, co-chairwoman of the contest. “The more entries you have, the more competitive it becomes, and I think that’s a good thing.”
The winners will be announced under the Heart of Belen Gazebo at noon during the Becker Street Rio Abajo Days Festival Saturday, Sept. 29, and a reception with refreshments will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Belen Art League Gallery, 509 Becker St.
The photographs will be on display at the gallery until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.
“I want to encourage people to come and see the wonderful photography of the artists from the area and outside the area,” said Anderson. “There’s just so much talent and so many beautiful things in New Mexico to photograph — maybe next year they would like to enter.”
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