“It’s a SIOUXtiful Life” photo contest attracts 81 submissions
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout recently wrapped up the “It’s a SIOUXtiful Life” photography contest which gave local photographers a chance to share their unique talents, with an emphasis on photos that showcase the natural beauty of our area while still remaining identifiably Sioux Lookout.
According to the Municipality, “The contest was first announced to the public on Tuesday, August 31st, but planning and discussions started several weeks earlier… The contest was suggested by IT & Communications Coordinator, Chris Pollard, and developed with Municipal Clerk, Brian MacKinnon and Deputy Clerk, Jackie Trenholm. It was put forward as a way to encourage community engagement and build a gallery of images that can showcase life in Sioux Lookout in reports, on our website, and in promotional or marketing materials.”
All photographs entered into the contest were awarded points based on factors including image quality, how difficult the image was to capture, visual impact and audience appeal. With 81 entries received, the Municipality shared that it knew judging wasn’t going to be easy, stating, “Once we counted the entries, downloaded them all, and started looking through them, we knew judging was going to be tough. The entries exceeded all expectations in quality AND variety. Community response was excellent, with 81 photos submitted. They covered all of the seasons, a wide variety of locations, and really spoke to life in Sioux Lookout.”
The Municipality further shared that, “A group of staff independently reviewed all of the entries. Their goal was to each create a list of 15 to 20 photos they considered the best, taking the judging criteria into account. Only photos that were selected by multiple judges made it to the final round. Members of the management team, CAO Michelle Larose, and Mayor Doug Lawrance formed the final judging panel. It was an incredibly tight decision.”
In the end there was only a 12-point spread between the three top placing winners, attesting to the quality of photos received.
First, second and third place winners will be receiving gift certificates to a Sioux Lookout business of their choice in the amounts of $150, $100, and $50, respectively. All of the photo submissions received may in the future be used by the Municipality on its website, marketing, and promotional materials, with photo credit given to the photographer.
As First Prize winner Suzanne Hughdie explained, her photo of a sunset over a frozen Pelican Lake almost didn’t happen. “I almost didn’t get out that day to see the lake. I remember it being pretty cold and at the last minute I decided to go, and I couldn’t believe how magical it was, seeing the whole town out there, and the sky lit up like that… it seemed like a once in a lifetime thing, but hopefully not. I was skating, so had no tripod and it was getting darker and darker, and I was just happy that I got there when I did.”
Twylla Penner, whose photo of the sun setting behind Sioux Mountain across the frozen waters of Pelican Lake took second prize, felt compelled to enter the contest because, as she explained, “We love living here and there’s so much beauty around. The photo was taken in December of 2019, when the lake froze and there was no snow on the lake. My kids were skating around and it was sunset. It was pretty awesome, it’s fun, and it’s a good thing for the community to do and it’s a good thing for the community to have, everyone does snapshot pictures.”
Michael Starratt’s photo, which took third place, depicts a lone snowmachine parked atop a rise, with a sunset backdrop of a snow-covered landscape. As Starratt explains, “My motivation was, everyone sends in nice summer pictures. Not that there’s anything wrong with summer, but nobody sends in nice winter pictures. There’s a whole six months of the year, and there’s lots of beauty around, but no one likes the cold.”
With gift certificates coming their way, each photographer has already decided how they hope to utilize theirs. Hughdie plans to use her windfall to help out the Adopt-a Family program, while Penner said, “I’m going to buy a tree or something from their (Fresh Market’s) garden centre, then we can plant it in spring.”
Starratt, an avid snowmobiler, plans on using his at Mascotto’s Marine.
The winning photos along with all other entries can be viewed online at the Municipality’s “It’s a SIOUXtiful Life” webpage, found at https://bit.ly/3HyLCcb.