Prints That Win: La Petite Mademoiselle

About four years ago, Massachusetts-based photographer Andrea (Andy) Joliat came to a creative standstill. She felt stuck in her artistic endeavors, unable to create as she had in the past; the writer’s block of photography. In the hopes of overcoming this, she turned to her fellow photographers, interviewing them about their creative resources, and even writing an article (pg. 34-36) on the subject that was published in Professional Photographers Magazine.

As a photographer with three decades of experience, Joliat was determined to overcome the creative obstacles. “I’ve thought a lot about creativity and where people get ideas from,” she says. “They come from different places… I might see some colors that I like, and I’ll remember those colors and want to create something in that palate.” In her article, she discusses her methods of finding inspiration, many of which come from literature. Discovering and exploring these outlets of creativity – whether it’s color palates or Robert Frost – is imperative to developing one’s style.

The exquisite, Sunset Print Award-winning photograph, “La Petite Mademoiselle,” beautifully portrays Joliat’s knack for creating aesthetic, touching images. The viewer is immediately struck by the little girl’s expression of curiosity and reticence, paired with the light, pastel composition of the color palate.

Joliat became interested in photography after taking a course in college. “I just fell in love with it my senior year,” she says. After she graduated, she continued to the New England School for Photography, and she’s been a professional photographer ever since.

She photographs a wide variety of subjects, but portraits of children are among her specialties. “I feel like I can connect with them in a quiet way, and it brings out a good expression in the child that is usually thoughtful,” says Joliat. “I’m a fairly quiet person and I feel that they are comfortable around me.”

La Petite Mademoiselle_ Andrea Joliat_Her portrait of this little girl is both precious and impressive in technique. Joliat adjusted both the lighting and complexion of the girl, painting her cheeks and lips to create the effect of a little doll. “When I think back to that session, her personality was very observant. She watched things,” she says, “Maybe that’s why her eyes came out so much in the picture, because she was a curious little girl.”

As one can tell from her winning photo, Joliat successfully found her way through the creative block, delving into her past along the way. “When I was young, I used to explore my grandmothers garden, and it felt like a journey to walk through and discover things and not have anything in mind, but to just go in and look for something” she says, “And I think this ties back to creativity. I felt like I had to have a specific idea or goal each time when I went out to take photos. And I got to a point where I could just go and be open-minded, explore, and come across new things.”

Joliat, who has been entering her work in completions since the late ‘90s, has won many awards over the years. She highly recommends that photographers of all skill-levels participate in such events, though she has unique advice for them.

“I think people should take the constructive criticism that they get from the experience, but still do their own thing,” she says. “I see a lot of people thinking that their work has to look a certain way, or look like an image from someone they admire. So listen to the criticism, but always maintain your style.”

Prints That Win: Departing Flight

While stalking birds in the Everglades, Seymour, Wis.-based photographer Steven Kemp captured a Brown Pelican in mid-departure. Birds taking flight aren’t typically viewed as spectacular, noteworthy moments; however, the photography veteran has a knack for capturing the simple moments of life and transforming them into amazing ones.

The Sunset Print Award-winning photo, “Departing Flight,” was naturally exquisite and only needed minimal editing to be a winner. Kemp cropped out the trees and the shoreline in the background and smoothed out the rippled water. He printed the image on LexJet Sunset Production eSatin 250g photo paper, and it was ready for competition.

National Sunset Print Award Winner Christie Newell Visits Sarasota

As the winner of the 2016 National Sunset Print Award, Peoria, Ill.-based photographer Christie Newell won a trip to the Lido Beach Resort and a $500 Visa gift card. She swung by LexJet’s headquarters last Friday for a quick visit and tour before enjoying her mini-vacation on Lido Key.

Newell took first place for her image, “Old Faithful,” a portrait of a client’s dog, named Tilly, an Aussie Doodle. The photo beat out 25 other finalists from around the country.

“I was very surprised that it won,” Newell says. “I knew a lot of the other photographers who were in the running, and their work is top-notch. It was very exciting.”

Prints that Win: Autumn Cascades

In the secluded woods of West Virginia, Jaki Good Miller took her Sunset Print Award-winning photograph, Autumn Cascades. This is only her second year entering competitions, but her second win of a Sunset Print Award; her first was last year with her image Morning on Mormon Row. “I think it was skill, but also some luck,” she says with a laugh. Her vibrant image, Autumn Cascades, captures the brilliant colors and textures of this West Virginian landscape, instantly captivating the viewer.

Prints That Win: Golden Arches

Under the royal Alcázar in Seville, Spain, are the Baños de Doña María de Padilla (Baths of Lady María of Padilla). This underground rainwater reserve is a popular tourist attraction, however, on the day that Bill Mills visited, the baths were entirely empty. “That was the beauty of this place …” says Mills, “that no one was there. I had the place to myself, and how often can you say that?”

It was here that he took his Sunset Print Award-winning photo Golden Arches. “You’re not allowed to use tripods in this area, but around this bath was a wall, and so I set my camera there on a two-second delay and shot a couple of different angles,” he says. His image eloquently captures the eerie tranquility of the architecture, earning him this prestigious award.

Prints That Win: In Flight With Twigs

Photographer Uldis Ilvess was on a road trip through South Carolina when he took his Sunset Print Award-winning photograph In Flight with Twigs. “We happened to drive by a small pasture with some private houses, and in between the houses was this fenced in area with a pond, and in the shrubs were these birds nesting there,” says Ilvess. The image of the bird with twigs in its mouth instantly captivated him.

Based in Des Moines, IA, Ilvess has been a photographer since the 1970s. The art form originally started out as a hobby for him before developing into a full career. He taught photography through a local art center, which he says was a mutually beneficial experience.