Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The FIVE FINALISTS are...

WOW. WoW. WOW.

Over the past five days dozens upon dozens of people sent in nominations... for themselves, friends, family, fellow photographers... even clients and accountants sending in emails! Some were nominated by four or five different people. Some sent pictures and stories and attachments; with others, words were all that was needed.

I read through every one of them, wishing I had the means to take in every one of them. I was feeling utterly hopeless at how to narrow the finalists down from such a large group of deserving individuals. Thank goodness it is not my job to do this!!

These FIVE FINALISTS were chosen because they made us laugh, made us cry, humbled us to the core, and really pulled at our heart-strings. They were completely original and forthright with information and telling us why they NEED this scholarship and told us enough of their stories for the panel to make a decision.

The recipient will be announced tomorrow sometime after all the votes are in and tallied. Due to space limitations, we had to shorten what is posted on this blog, but you can click on to read the full story if you'd like.

Without further ado... we present the finalists!! (In no particular order)





Finalist #1: Jamie Delanie of British Columbia, Canada
WEBSITE
BLOG


Her life's aspiration: to worship the Creator by creating.

This talented photographer has not even finished high school and has already been in business for about a year! She believes in dreaming BIG and never giving up... and will be putting herself through college starting in the fall. Probably our most original entry yet... we'll let you find out more and watch the video for yourselves....



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Finalist #2: Karen Mikols of Kansas
WEBSITE
(NEW site under construction!!)
BLOG


What do socks have to do with Karen and business organization?

She's a wedding photographer on the brink of her own wedding. Yet another original application that tells us in her own words (and pictures) why she needs the biz help... click the picture of Karen to watch the slideshow (it may take a minute to load, please be patient)


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Finalist #3: Marie Bunke of California
WEBSITE
BLOG


Linguist daughter of immigrant parents, she found the love of her life (who became her husband and father of their two children) while serving in the Air Force, only to have a brain tumor take him from her too soon. Newly widowed and living in a small town with little opportunity, she finds her light and hope and joy through photography finally... and begins the healing process...

Marie's beautiful bio pic from her site
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"...Fate had other plans for our little family and at 39 I found myself a widow with two young children, ages 3 ½ and 9 years old. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I firmly believed that if we stayed positive, researched all of our options, went to the best medical facilities in the country that we could beat the monster that had taken over my husband’s body, and most regrettably, his brain. I was wrong. Crest fallen and grief stricken, I desperately sought for something to do to support my family...."
***CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE STORY****


One of Marie's pics
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Finalist #4: Beth Daane of California
WEBSITE
BLOG


She's got an airline voucher that will get her to Atlanta and a small time frame during which she can fly....

With their second child on the way, Beth (former social worker) and her husband Sam (Air Force) have no control over where they are called to move every 4 years... and now they're in California where the market is over-saturated and their financial resources are stretched... how will Beth make her photography business flourish amongst so much change and opposition? How can they set the example for their children to follow their own dreams?


Beth and her hubby, Sam
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"Hello Liana,

First I must tell you that it touches my heart greatly that you are offering a scholarship to your BBC Workshop. Giving back is something very close to my heart, so when I read your post on OSP I liked you even more then I did before! ;) My first encounter meeting you was at WPPI 2007. I went to see you as a Platform Speaker and it was the first time I had ever listened to another photographer speak. You blew me away! I always remember a question someone asked you about why you didn't shoot RAW- and your answer was that you shoot correctly out of the camera the first time so why would you shoot RAW? When you said that, my thoughts were that ...." ***CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY***

Some of Beth's work
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Finalist #5: Ellen McRaney of Georgia
WEBSITE
BLOG



She's got a beloved Cat who's had a CAT scan and survived cancer. But that's not the only miracle in her story...

On the brink of starting a Masters in Physical Therapy program at Emory University ten years ago, Ellen suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage that left her with a hole in her brain... unable to read, write, or speak. To say that Ellen is a living miracle and photography has helped her heal might just be an understatement...

Ellen not long after her stroke
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"...I was on the phone with my mother and she noticed that I was not making any sense. She asked if I was alright, and I thought about what I had just said. I realized the words I was saying had absolutely no connection to the words I was thinking. I told mom I'd be right back, I thought I just needed something to drink. The next thing I remember, I was spilling the water I had gotten from the refrigerator on myself, I was dragging myself across the kitchen floor with my left arm, my right arm was twisted up and around behind my left side and I couldn't feel my legs. I looked down at myself and knew this was really bad. I'd had enough medical training that I KNEW what had happened, even though it was hard to believe given my age, so I dragged myself over to the front door and unlocked it (knowing SOMEONE was going to have to get in to help me at some point) and then back to the phone..."
***CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE STORY***

In Ellen's own words:

My Hole in My Head. I always joke around that I have a hole in my head, but technically it's in my brain. I remember the first time I saw that scan, about 4 years after the stroke. Up until then, somehow it hadn't really crossed my mind that there would be such a visible dead space. It makes sense, now that I've had time to consider, but I just hadn't thought about it before I saw the scan on the light box. So I took a picture.
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And a fun pic she took that we borrowed off her blog:

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THANK YOU again to everyone who sent in nominations!! We are holding on to these and will post here when the time has come to open up nominations again, if and when the time comes. Check back tomorrow for the BIG announcement!!

7 comments:

Orchard Cove Photography said...

Wow is right - these stories are just amazing. You guys have some tough choices to make! Good luck!

Krista Photography said...

Wow! How on earth are you going to choose??

Bethalow said...

Ellen, Marie, Jamie and Karen...I have to say that I left reading or watching all entries, I am choked up and feel honored to be among you to be "in the running"! Good luck and God Bless.
Beth

(Sorry for the deleted post, I did it twice, I was so excited!)

amitphotography said...

While I'm crushed not to be among the finalists, I must say that these ladies have amazing stories. After reading their entries, I feel like they are ALL so deserving....truly a hard choice. Congratulations! :o)

marie said...

I can't believe I've made it this far, and am so honored to be among this group of exceptional women!! You have inspired me with your stories, it would be so awesome to meet each of you some day:) I wish you all the very best!! Perhaps we can convince Liana to take all of us! Thank you again.

Ellen McRaney said...

Hi Beth, Marie, Jamie & Karen...I wish we could all do this together! Reading through each of your stories was amazing. Beth, I completely feel for you with trying to stand out among an area with SO MANY photographers! Karen, we have some of the same socks! I have more Valentine's Day socks than anything because I like to have hearts and love aroung me :), but I too have a huge collection of fun socks! Marie, I know how photography can bring so much back into your life after an unbelievable loss. Jamie, I love how you dream BIG and go after your dreams! I feel so honored to be among the top five! God bless all of you and good luck. Ellen

Bethalow said...

Thanks so much Ellen and Marie! The suspense is killing me!!! :)

 
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