Winners of 29th annual Gurwin Photo Contest announced at Sept. 20 reception
‘A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it.’ – Irving Penn
By Heidi Sutton
Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack revealed the winners of its 29th annual Photo Contest at an award ceremony and reception at the recently opened Fountaingate Garden’s Life Plan Community’s Clubhouse on Sept. 20. The highlight of the evening was a traditional slide show of the winning selections from this and previous years. Winners were also given the option of sending in a video describing their photo and process.
Sponsored by the Tiffen Company, this year’s competition drew over 700 entries from amateur photographers across the country. Of those submissions, 32 photos were chosen to be enlarged, framed and hung on permanent display in the nursing home. The beautiful images will be on exhibit in the Helen and Nat Tiffen Gallery for a year and will then move up to the resident units.
The event is the brainchild of Dennine Cook, Chief Corporate Communications Officer oat Gurwin who started the contest in 1993 as a way of “making [Gurwin’s] blank walls more homelike.”
“That first year we had 60 entries in color and black and white. All the enlargements were made from negatives and slides and mounted on foamboard so we’ve really come a long way,” said Cook. “Now our contest reguarly receives more than 700 entries.”
Cook spoke of how the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on the residents at Gurwin. “For a long time they could not have visitors and often the only bright spot was seeing that familar photos outside their doorway … Your photos added some light and were appreciated more than you know.”
“This contest, although competitive and a great achievement for you as a photographer, is really about the people who get to see your work,” said Cook.
“These are challenging times for all of us … and your photos help to beautify all of our facilites,” added Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, before the winners were announced
This year’s judges, Christopher Appoldt (Christopher Appoldt Photography), Brandon Klein of The Tiffen Company and Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography), were given the difficult task of choosing a grand prize winner along with honorable mentions for 12 categories as well as Best in Show, which this year was awarded to Deidre Elzer-Lento of Northport for “Rainbow Over LIPA Stacks,” and Best In Show Runner-Up.
Elzer-Lento spoke about the day she took the photo. “A storm was blowing through and I watched at my window until sure enough, a full double rainbow appeared.” She raced out to her backyard and took the picture over and over until she got that perfect shot.
This year’s Best In Show Runner-Up was awarded to Aaron Needle of Merrick for his sports photo titled “Safe!” Needle spoke of how he took the action photo during one of his son’s baseball game.
“All the selections, whether they be Honorable Mentions, Grand Prizes or Resident/Staff selections will be judged, discussed and enjoyed by so many appreciative eyes for years to come and to me that’s the real honor — that your photos will hang for decades here in our resident’s home,” said Cook.
The annual contest does not accept digital entries, only 8 × 10 prints, which are not returned. However, Cook was quick to assure the audience that all of the submissions will be put to good use. “[The residents] use them in art therapy as painting and drawing inspiration and in crafting classes. It’s become a great resource here at Gurwin and everyone is very grateful.”
2022 WINNING SELECTIONS
Best in Show
‘Rainbow Over LIPA Stacks’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento
Best in Show Runner-Up
‘Safe!’ by Aaron Needle
‘Fly with Me’by Michelle Nickerson
‘Mirror Image’ by Frank DiBenedetto
‘Northport Dock’ by Ellen Gallagher
‘Mythical Forest’ by Ellen Gallagher
‘Watermelon Joy’ by Avihai Vaday
‘Julia’ by Mike DiRenzo
‘Among the Aspen’ by Meryl Lorenzo
‘Mabry Mill’ by Carol Goldstein
Long Island/ New York Category
‘After the Storm’ by Debbie Monastero
‘Gamecock Cottage’ by Robert Oliva
‘Mother Nature’ by Alan Sloyer
‘Autumn’s Litter’ by Tom Caruso
‘Road Work’ by Vic Carlin
‘Moroccan Merchant’ by Herb Knopp
‘Snow Day’ by Katie Scherer
‘Baxter Wants a Treat’
by Dianne Boothe
Still Life Category
‘Farrier’s Tools of the Trade’ by Dianne Boothe
‘Wine & Cheese’ by Bobbie Turner
‘Grazing on the Meadow’ by Carol Milazzo DiRenzo
‘Sunset Surf’ by Erin Bonitz
‘Eastern Phoebe’ by Frank Silverman
‘American Beauty’ by Debbie Monastero
‘The Vessel’ by Emma Azevedo
‘A Walk in the Park’ by Noah Gorlewski
‘Blue Eyes’ by Lora Ann Batorsky
‘Summer Wave’ by Michael Danielson
‘Baby Isla’ by Nicole Eberle
‘Who’s There?’ by Fred Fenster
‘Port Jeff Ferry’ by Les Goldschmidt
‘Just Chillin’ by Alan Sloyer
Entries for next year’s photo contest will be accepted between Feb. 15 and April 15, 2023. For more information, visit www.gurwin.org/about/photo-contest/.