Rotary Club of Blacktown City

Rotary magazine’s 2023 Photo Awards

See the world courtesy of this year’s award-winning photographers

Writing in this magazine in 1946, Paul Harris remarked that “travel is a good corrective for … mental near-sightedness.” The same holds true for photography, especially if, like Rotary itself, the photographer takes a global perspective.

To verify that observation you need look no further than this issue of Rotary magazine, where we reveal the finalists in this year’s Photo Awards. Including the cover, there are a dozen photographs that carry us from Egypt to Idaho, from Nigeria to Taiwan. Along the way we see everything from an intimate moment as a medical team prepares for surgery to a sweeping nightscape illuminated by an aurora borealis.

Though they are shot in different parts of the world, employ distinct palettes, and evoke different emotions, all of these photographs have in common an unseen beauty. These days we’re constantly bombarded with images — and in an era of AI and CGI, it can be difficult to know if what we’re seeing is real. But in these 12 photos we have the privilege of standing in the photographers’ shoes and experiencing an honest understanding of a particular moment.

That generosity of spirit is another Rotary trait.

By sharing their pictures, the photographers enable the rest of us to join them on their journey.

— Jacqueline Cantu, art director, Rotary magazine


Photographer: Edward Uhalla
Rotaract Club of Ikate, Nigeria

In Lagos, Nigeria, I was trying to document the introduction of District 9110’s 2022-23 Rotaract representative. In the thick of the chaos, this happy Rotaractor locked eyes with me, and I captured this celebratory moment in time. Judges say: The photo captures the jubilance of the occasion and the excitement of the crowd of Rotaractors. Technically, the photographer’s command of the image’s sharpness and its excellent monochromatic shades are superb!

Winner: People of action

Photographer: Dan Milham
Rotary Club of Metairie, Louisiana

Dr. Dan Jacob (top left), co-founder of New Orleans Medical Mission Services, prays with nurses and assistants, including Rotarian Jennifer Esler (bottom left), before heading to the operating room for surgery during a medical mission in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on 23 May 2022. Judges say: The moment, the composition, the light. Very simple and very, very impressive.

Honorable mentions

As the first light of dawn breaks over the horizon, people make their way from fishing boats to the shores of Nungwi, a coastal village in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Judges say: The eyes are on a target and not on the photographer. Where is he going, where is he coming from? The picture arouses curiosity about another being.

Luca Venturi, Rotary Club of Siena Est, Italy

A northern pike leaps into the air as it tries to spit out a fishing lure. I shot this photo with my iPhone 6 from the cockpit of a kayak — and then released the fish back into the water. Judges say: How does one capture an image such as this on an iPhone while reeling in this beauty? The photo captures the struggle between man and fish, the colors of life and the life of the water, and the ancient ritual of bringing sustenance home for the family.

Steve Begnoche, Rotary Club of Ludington, Michigan

I took this photo while traveling in Nanzhuang Township, Taiwan. At a noodle shop on Nanzhuang Old Street, I saw this traditional palm-leaf fiber raincoat hanging on the wall. These coats were once worn by farmers in the mountainous regions in Taiwan but have largely disappeared. It triggered my memories of when my family lived in a farmhouse. Judges say: A nostalgic look at the symbol of a bygone era. The noisy graffiti-filled background serves as a stark reminder of the changing times.

Photographer: Kuo-Hsiung (Kunio) Hsieh, Rotary Club of Taipei Hwachung, Taiwan

The Northern Lights provide an arresting backdrop to a house in Battle Harbour, a historic fishing village on a small island off the coast of Labrador, Canada. Judges say: Wonderful photograph. Love the green reflection on the right.

Photographer: Geoff Goodyear, Rotary Club of Exploits, Newfoundland and Labrador

The towering cliffs of Vágar, one of the Faroe Islands, plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. Judges say: The great depth of field captured by Dack is impressive and activating. We see splashes of green moss in the distant cliffs, accompanied by a leading line of gold grasses. This gilded frame surrounding the complimentary turquoise water creates a captivating landscape.

Photographer: David Dack, Rotary Club of Lemoore, California

Motorcycle waterfall: Under a heavy November rain, a cascade of commuters in brightly colored raincoats flows across a bridge ramp in Taipei, Taiwan. Judges say: The photo offers a peek at the daily routine of urban commuters in Taiwan, a ubiquitous scene in East Asia.

Photographer: Ting-Yu Yu, Spouse of Yi-Cheng Chen, Rotary Club of Taipei Asia Link, Taiwan

On an annual trek to higher elevations for better grazing, a shepherd drives his flock of sheep across the aptly named Sheep Bridge, which spans Idaho’s Payette River. Judges say: I’m drawn to the fleeting moment this image captured. The askew framing, setting sun, and blur of sheep running to the bridge contribute to the spontaneity.

Photographer: Craig Vroom, Rotary Club of McCall (Payette Lakes), Idaho

Rebuilt after World War II, Rotterdam’s city center is an architectural smorgasbord. These cube houses are a landmark for residents and tourists to the Netherlands. Judges say: A marvel in color and repetition! The horizon line isn’t immediately apparent, which keeps the viewer’s eye moving around the composition.

Photographer: Douglas Hartford, Rotary Club of St. Paul, Minnesota

A feral cat sunbathes in the courtyard of an Egyptian temple to Isis, part of the Philae complex on the Nile River. Ancient Egyptians revered cats, believing them to carry divine energy. Judges say: Fun image. The back story of Egypt and cats being magical creatures fills this photograph.

Photographer: Terry Ip, Rotary Club of Arlington North West, Texas

Village lights refract through clouds and fog left behind after heavy rain in a scenic area of Yuchi Township, Taiwan. The mountains that surround the village trap water vapor after rainstorms. The lights hitting the mist produce a colorful effect like stained glass. Judges say: Peaceful, full of life, mysterious, end of a day, start of a day. The balance of all the photographic elements is great. Camera placement, composition, exposure. Well done all around.

Photographer: Yeong Hsiou Chen, Rotary Club of Taipei Hwachung, Taiwan

Rotary Club of Blacktown City Inc

Address: PO Box 12, Blacktown, NSW 2148

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