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LexJet Announces the Winner of the Second Annual National Sunset Print Award

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Five prestigious judges convened at the LexJet headquarters in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 15, to determine the top three prints in the second annual National Sunset Print Award.

Each year, photographers enter prints in their Professional Photographers Association of America local and regional Sunset Print Awards. The winners of those awards then compete in the national Sunset awards. This year, 28 prints were entered into the competition.

We’re pleased to announce that Kari Douma from Grandville, Mich., was the first place winner in the national award for her print, “ Aged Gracefully.” From the first moments of judging, jury chairman Rich Newell said, “That’s a keeper.” (Image attached below.)

The storytelling, lighting and presentation on matte photo paper all contributed to setting the print apart from the competition.

Coming in second was “Mirror Mirror,” by Wilton, Iowa, photographer Ben Shirk. (See the full image here.) “It’s telling the story of the magic mirror,” said judge Chuck Hill. “The image feels heavily treated, but it’s honest, as well.”

Third place went to Randy McNeilly of Shelby, N.C., for his print “ The Colonel at Twilight.” “This is a rare breed,” said judge Carmen Schettino. “There’s something beautiful about the position of his body … and the lighting.”

During the judging, the panel whittled down the 28 prints to 11 in the first round. These three images continued to score well throughout the entire deliberation, making them the clear standouts among the best-of-the-best Professional Photographers Association of America’s images.

This year’s judges included:

Rich Newell, jury chairman. From a small town in Missouri, Rich pursued his passion for photography by attending the Ohio Institute of Photography. Rich has worked in the portrait industry for the past 23 years as well as becoming an instructor at the school he once attended. Rich has owned a successful portrait and wedding studio in Ohio and is currently the IPC manager for PPA. “The key to being a great photographer is education,” he says. This is how Rich has built his business and become the photographer he is today.

Thomas Carabasi. Thomas is currently the department head of photography and digital imaging at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, and has been a visiting artist and lecturer at the International Center of Photography in New York City for more than 25 years. He has actively conducted workshops on developing innovative concept development and technique both in the U.S. and Europe since 1989. His fine art photography has won him grants from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and The Australian Council of the Arts and his work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including shows in Australia, Germany, Italy and Art Basel, Miami. Thomas has also published a monograph of his work entitled “Traces: Photographs and Poetry 1979-1989.” He is currently represented by Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art in Sarasota.

Carmen Schettino. Carmen is a professional photographer with more than 40 years of experience in portrait, wedding and commercial work. He discovered the lure of photography when, as a young soldier stationed in Germany, he watched a blank piece of paper miraculously change to an image in the darkroom. While the “magic” of the darkroom era has come and gone, Carmen’s love of photography has never diminished. He is a Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman, both earned professional achievements, awarded by the Professional Photographers of America for excellence in photography and service to the industry. He has served as the president of the Professional Photographers of New York State and has more than 390 PPA merits for his photography and his teaching work.

Adrian Henson. Adrian is a portrait and commercial photographer in New Bern, NC. He has a passion for traveling and has taught from London to Las Vegas and everywhere in between. In 2014, he won the top award at London’s International Print Competition. Over the past few years he’s received numerous Photographer of the Year awards at state, regional and international print competitions. The top of which was the much coveted PPA Diamond Award in 2013. All of these accomplishments have enabled Adrian to earn Master of Photography, Master of Electronic Imaging and Photographic Craftsman Degrees. In 2014 he also received Professional Photographers of America’s Imaging Excellence Award for having more than 13 images accepted into PPA’s Loan Collection.

Chuck Hill. Chuck is a portrait and landscape photographer in Hendersonville, NC, who specializes in senior photos, family portraits and fine art scenic photography. He receives rave reviews from his clients, including this Google review: “He has an incredible eye for capturing the essence of the subject being photographed. Always has a happy spirit and makes the process very pleasant. His Portraits are stunning and his added touch makes them even more special. His landscape shots exemplifies the beauty of God’s most amazing handy work.”

About LexJet

LexJet ( is dedicated to total convenience and personal customer service for its vast line of digital color imaging products. With one-day ground delivery to most of the continental United States, telephone and on-line ordering, highly trained account specialists, free and unlimited product and technical support, and extensive educational resources, LexJet is the industry's premier one-stop, direct source for all kinds of imaging products.

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