Competition is a family affair

February 03, 2005|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Thirteen-year-old Caitlin Koski behaved in typical teenager fashion when she found out her photograph had been chosen for exhibition in a juried competition at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown - she jumped up and down and called all of her friends.

"I was really, really excited," said Caitlin, who lives in Falling Waters, W.Va. "I didn't think I had that much of a chance because of all the adults."

Her photographer-father was really, really proud that she entered the competition. And even prouder that her digital color photo of a clown applying makeup to a child's face was among 70 out of 173 entries accepted for exhibition in the 72nd annual Cumberland Valley Photographic Salon.


"She was determined to enter, and she's usually determined to win," said Koski, 51. Caitlin is a tough competitor in equestrian events and has earned top honors for her photography at the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Youth Fair. "When she entered I knew that was the end of the story - something would happen."

Like his father, Koski put a camera in his child's hand as soon as she was old enough to focus. Caitlin, a seventh-grader at Spring Mills Middle School, has been taking pictures since she was 3. Father and daughter keep their digital cameras handy at all times - Caitlin inspired most by color, her dad by action - take summer photo trips to New England, and they plan to collaborate on a children's book about horses, they said.

Caitlin's "Can I Be a Clown?" hangs on a wall at the fine arts museum near one of her dad's two selected photos - a first-place color portrait of a man in a hat and a second-place black-and-white still life of a weathered wooden door. Walter Koski - whose photos can be seen online at - won Best of Show several years ago for his photograph of a cooper making barrels.

The competition's entire collection of photos - with subjects including vibrant florals, facial close-ups, carousel horses, dancers, landscapes, boats, a lion-like cat bathed in shadow - will be on display at the museum through Sunday, March 13. An opening reception will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6.

Jurors included Jay McKean Fisher, deputy director for curatorial affairs and senior curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and photographer Susan Maldon Stregack, owner of Dancing Moose Photography in Silver Spring, Md. The judges chose one Best of Show winner, and first-, second- and third-place winners in nine categories. A limited number of slides also were judged.

Bruce Wilder of Boonsboro won Best of Show for his black-and-white print of crows lining the branches of a gnarled tree. Three more of Wilder's black-and-white photographs - two portraits and one figure - also placed in the competition. Andrew Stanciek of Hagerstown earned the Washington County Arts Council Award for Best Photography by a Washington County Resident for "The Road to Forever" - a digital black-and-white and color print that features a ghostly soldier standing along a tree-lined lane.

Salon viewers can cast their ballots for their favorite photographs for the Popular Prize Award, which is sponsored by FirstLook Photo of Hagerstown.

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