This past November, we held our FIRST ever SONJ Photo Contest! You didn’t have to be a professional photographer or own a special advanced camera to participate.

Special Olympics New Jersey photographer and contest judge, Marco Catini kicked off the competition Tuesday, November 10 with a virtual Zoom photography workshop. Once the contest was over and photos were submitted, Marco reviewed the creative image submissions and choose the final winners with the help of SONJ staff.

Marco’s professional feedback for each category winner is included below. Take it away, Marco!

I had the pleasure and the honor to be part of the group who selected the winners for SONJ Photo Contest: Fall 2020. There were a lot of magnificent submissions, and it was hard to pick just one for each category.

Now, you may wonder how we determined which photo was top. Did we go by technical prowess, awarding the photographers who best know the ins and outs of photography? Did we lean towards subjects we personally like most and photograph ourselves? Or did we look for the photographer with the most expensive camera gear? 

Well, the answer is simple: none of that. We rather asked ourselves: which photo represents its category the best? Did the photographer succeed in conveying their thoughts, their intention? How creative is the photo? We didn’t discard submissions if the horizon was a bit skewed, or if the exposure was a tad off. We went for the “spirit” of the image. 

So, without further ado, here are the winners (drumroll please):

My SONJ Athlete Winner: Aadita A., Mt. Laurel, NJ – Area 13
“What a playful way to show “My SONJ”: spell it with hard earned medals! Truly a personal expression of what SONJ is for the photographer!”

My SONJVolunteer Winner: Glenn T., Area 12 Coach & Parent
“The seemingly endless line of LETR coins symbolizes the support of this organization. And it is a fitting representation of this volunteers personal connection.”

“Sunrise/Sunset” Athlete Winner: Tony W., Northfield, NJ – Area 8
“The central composition works very well. It structures the photo into two halves, without interrupting it. Both sky and foreground have lots of structure and are interesting.”

“Sunrise/Sunset” Volunteer Winner: Linda C., Area 8 Director
“Nicely balanced with the almost centered horizon line and the two subtle colors. The reeds on the left side anchor the image. It could be either sunrise or sunset, and it feels very calm.”

“The View from Here” Athlete Winner: Brandon G., Palmyra, NJ – Area 7
“A beautiful rainbow, with lots of structure in the sky. The sun seems to be in the back of the photographer, and gives the foreground a warm, golden glow. This could be in anyone’s backyard.”

“The View From Here” Volunteer Winner: Lori L., Parent Area 5
“This really feels like 2020 in a nutshell: We’re stuck behind a fence and we can’t play tennis. The focus is on the fence, but with just enough of the tennis court in focus to remind us of what we’re missing out on.

See All Photo Submissions

The three categories for the fall photo contest included the following: My SONJ, Sunrise/Sunset, and The View From Here. Here’s a breakdown of the contest details, incase you missed the original event listing.

My SONJ – Share photos of what SONJ means to you. Teammates at practice, medal displays, t-shirt collection, get creative and show your Genuine Jersey Pride! In total, we had 26 athletes and nine volunteers/parents/coaches participate!

Sunrise/Sunset – Do you get up early and enjoy how the day starts? Do you take evening walks with your family and pets and rejoice in the warmth of a sunset? Share beautiful beginnings and ends of the day! 

The View From Here – Wherever you are, there is something worth photographing. It can be a great view during a hike, or a little detail of an object in your home. Whatever it is: if you find it interesting, you can take a photo and share it with us! 

Congratulations to all that participated! There were a lot of GREAT submissions, and it was tough to choose just one photo per category. Now remember to keep taking photos and have fun with it! Stay tuned for next month’s SONJ Photo Contest: Winter 2021!

Date: February 1 – February 28
Categories: TBD
Kick-off Zoom with Marco Catini: TBD

4 comments on “Winners Announced for the Fall 2020 SONJ Photo Contest”

  1. 1
    Kenny on December 21, 2020

    I want to be in photos with sonj with you guys

  2. 2
    Peter on January 14, 2021

    I want to be in photos with sonj with you guys

  3. 3
    Faryl on February 1, 2021

    I took a photo of me doing bike an I am interested

  4. 4
    Fatyl on February 7, 2021

    Here is a photo of me at Mountain Creek Winter Games snowshoeing

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