Smile Politely

Best in Show 2015 winners

If you read nothing else of this article, read this: As you look at these winning photographs, take a second to consider why these were chosen as the winners. Is it because the photographers used an expensive DSLR? Is it because they are photoshop wizards? Is it because they just bought a shiny new zoom? No. They’re winners because they captured a moment. Their brains, not their gear, saw beauty in something and captured it for us to enjoy.

The next time you see a fantastic photograph, try not to ask, “Wow, what kind of camera did you take that with?” Would you say to a painter, “Wow, that’s a beautiful painting — you must have a really nice set of brushes?”

Anyways, about the event:

This was the 14th year for the Best in Show event. The contest is coordinated by Champaign County Camera Club along with the Urbana Park District, Lincoln Square, and several local sponsors. To be eligible, contestants had to be within the 11 counties in which the News Gazette delivers and be considered an amateur (based on income from your photographs). 

Categories this year were:

  • Architecture
  • Animals
  • People
  • Nature
  • General
  • Manipulated
  • Youth Division
  • Black and White


1st Place, “The Barn,” Darin Eastburn, Urbana. Click here for his webpage. 

2nd Place, “Roxy Theatre,” Gail Taylor, Urbana. 

3rd Place, “The Pig,” Samuel T. Logan, Champaign. Click here for his webpage. 


1st place, “Nervous Nelly,” Richard Cobb, Champaign. Click here for his webpage.

2nd Place, “Food Chain,” Yore Kedem, Urbana. 

3rd place, “Hippo,” James Kirk, Bloomington. Click here for his webpage. 


1st Place, “Young Monk’s Reflections,” Laurie Bergner, Normal. Click here for her webpage. 

2nd Place, “Glowing,” Darin Eastburn, Urbana. 

3rd Place, “Photographers,” Ivana Bodulic, Urbana. 


1st Place, “Still,” Karen Deering, Monticello. Click here for her webpage. 

2nd place, “Sunset Over Soybean Field,” Yore Kedem, Urbana. 

3rd place, “Fall Carpet & Rain Drops,” Vandana Bajikar, Bloomington. Click here for their webpage. 


1st place, “Buckle Up,” Michael Buras, Savoy. Click here for his webpage. 

2nd place, “Prayer for Lightning,” Samuel T. Logan, Champaign. Click here for his webpage. 

3rd place, “Salt on Truck,” Tom Fisher, Seymour. Click here for his webpage. 

1st place, “Haunted House,” James Kirk, Bloomington. 

2nd place, “Now and Then,” Jason Kohlmann, Champaign. 

3rd place, “Little Red,” Megan York, Champaign. 

Youth Division

1st place, “Weathered,” Colleen Fogerson, Bement, age 15.

2nd place, “May Flowers and Sunsets,” Lauren Barnhart, age 17, Champaign.

3rd place, “Milkweed Fluff,” Addie Leyerle, age 14, Champaign.



Black and White

1st place, “Between One and Three,” Michael Buras, Savoy. 

2nd place, “Jovial Jackson,” Megan York, Champaign. 

3rd place, “End of the Line,” Michael Buras, Savoy. 

I encourage you to go out to Lincoln Square to see these and many more awesome photographs (including some honorable mentions). If you’re interested, you even have the opportunity to buy prints.

There will be a panel held at Lincoln Square Mall on February 22nd at 2 p.m. The judges will explain how and why they chose each piece. 

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