Life is a series of moments, and at the Robert Floyd exhibit in Southampton, a few of those moments were on display as part of the annual Women in History exhibit. Culminating with an awards ceremony on March 29, each photographer was charged with not only telling a story, but doing so creatively and in a way that was interesting to the viewers.
Judging for the event took no less than two hours, and was made difficult by the excellent quality of all the photographs.
“I wish I could have listened to everyone’s story,” said Barbara Krawczyk, one of the judges. “I was very impressed by the variety of people’s view.”
Entries from Girls Eye View, a program supported by The Robert Floyd exhibit that encourages young women in high school to develop their photography, were free of charge.
“We make sure every young woman has a camera,” Floyd explained.
The Pedge Daniels Scholarship fund that provides cameras to the Girls Eye View program began as a way to remember a beloved patron of the exhibit, Pedge Daniels. As part of her memory, Robert Floyd and Michael Root, curators of the photo gallery, set up a scholarship fund to encourage young women to develop an interest in photography. Every year the exhibit accepts entries from the Girls Eye View program into the Women in History exhibit, and this year there were three winners. The winners for this category were "Hair" by Maliyan H., honorable mention, “Smile" by Johanna M., second place, and "Twins" by Olivia R., first place.
The big winner of the day was Diane Norman of Montague. An amateur photographer, Norman said she almost gave up on her work.
“I just went through a period where I was like I don’t even take photos,” said Norman.
Norman said she had never won anything for her photography before, but last Sunday took no less than three awards. First, Norman won an honorable mention for her photograph “Best Friends,” in the non-professional category, depicting three women Norman knew during her work in Malawi. The three women featured in the photo were best friends, and Norman said she admired the closeness of their friendship.
“The way the women were hanging on each other, smiling, just did something for me,” said Norman.
Norman also won first prize in the non-professional category and grand prize overall for her photograph “Sari Breeze.” “Sari Breeze,” depicts the jubilation of a woman allowing herself to feel the wind blowing against her, with only a sari covering the front of her body. The photo was taken on Norman's annual trip with her friends to the Adirondacks.
“We go in as far in as we can and as remotely as we can, so we can be naked by the water,” said Norman.
The women keep saris nearby, in case strangers passed their encampment.
“On this day, I had stood up and the wind blew my sari off me,” Norman explained. “I was like wow, you guys really have to try this.”
Norman was able to capture the joy of one of her companions feeling the wind blow her sari against her skin.
“I could really feel the emotion in this photograph,” said Krawczyk.
Georgette deFriesse of Belchertown took second in the non-professional category for her photo "Chaos Factor named Rasi.”
With this photo, deFriesse froze a lovely moment between two dog owners and their extremely excited dog, Rasi. According to deFriesse, the two women bent down to pet Rasi, igniting a frenzy of face licking and jubilation. deFriesse didn’t intend to take photos on that day, as she was visiting the two women before a an outing.
“You can get a good photo from a snapshot,” said Krawczyk, its just about the opportunity.
Second prize in the professional category was given to Beth Reynolds of Greenfield for her photo of a former olympian titled "Early Morning Paddle.” First place went to Amy S. Dane, of Longmeadow for her photo "Mother/Daughter Selfie: Priceless."
For Floyd, this group of photos has a special place in his heart.
“I’m going to miss these when they leave,” said Floyd.
All winning photos will be on display through April 28.