The Transylvania Times -

Club Member Wins National Photo Prize


November 23, 2010

Bianca Wilkes (left) and Madison Baldridge are all smiles over the photo Bianca took of Madison that won a national contest.

Bianca Wilkes, 16, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County since she was 7, has been named a winner in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's ImageMakers National Photography Contest.

Wilkes won for her photograph using fellow club member Madison Baldridge, 8, as a model. It won in the black and white category for Wilkes's age group.

The photo, taken with a Nikon Coolpix P80 digital camera she borrowed, is a subdued mood portrayal of a lone little girl standing against a wall. It was taken last year outside the club's building on Gallimore Road.

The contest is part of a comprehensive initiative encouraging artistic skills, cultural enrichment and creativity in photography.

When her mother received the news of the win last month and told her, Bianca said she found it hard to believe she had won a national competition.

"I was like jumping all over the place," she said. "I was really stoked!"

Wilkes had been helping to supervise younger children at the club and Madison was one of her charges.

"Maddie was one of my favorite little girls," she said. "She had been sad because her father was going to Iraq, and I wanted to use that sadness a little bit."

The photo was taken in color, but Wilkes thought its moodiness more effective without color and so submitted it as a black and white photo.

"I really felt black and white was more appropriate," she said.

Maddie said she was as thrilled to learn of the picture's win as was Wilkes. Actually, though, she said, she was not so sad about her father's deployment as an Air Force pilot that day as she had been earlier in the week.

"It was hard to stand like that… I wanted to laugh," she said.

Wilkes, a sophomore at Brevard High School, hopes to pursue visual and verbal arts at the college level.

"Photography is something I like to do whenever I get the chance," she said. "I also like writing, and designing. I really have high expectations."

The ImageMakers National Photography Contest begins with a local competition of club members' photography. Up to 20 photographs (one per age group and category) are selected for one of six regional judging events. From each of those, 20 photographs are sent to the Boys & Girls Clubs national headquarters for selection for an ImageMakers National Photography Contest exhibit. In that, Wilkes's and the others will be on display at events across the country.

"We're so proud of Bianca's achievement," said the local club's education director, Solange Morgan.

She supervised the club's entries and was the staff member who lent Wilkes the camera for the winning shot.


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