From Nov. 4 to 17, the museum held an Ansel Adams Instagram photo contest, as part of programming for our exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai‘i Pictures. We asked people to post on the photo-sharing social media platform their black-and-white Adams-style images of Hawai‘i, and tag them with #hawaiipictures and @honolulumuseum. And wow, what a stream of beautiful photographs our followers sent our way! We received 158 entries from 49 photographers (we didn’t put a limit on how many photos people could enter). They were of everything from family portraits to a sumo tournament.
Last Tuesday, museum social media coordinator Clarke Reilly, who managed the contest, rounded up our distinguished judges—Theresa Papanikolas, curator of European and American art, and Shuzo Uemoto, our staff photographer and respected Hawai‘i artist—to select a first-place winner, a runner up, and honorable mention.
“They were great. I’m impressed by the turnout—there are many really strong photographs,” says Papanikolas. “Overall there is a real consistency in quality. We looked for balance, and found a lot.”
“It was a hard decision,” says Uemoto. “We picked the ones that reminded us most of Adams’s work.”
The winners are:
• Grand prize: Shasta McBride (@shastamcbride), for her landscape shot of Kaua‘i (pictured above)
• Runner up: Aaron Eskaran (@aeskaran), for his shot of Haleakala
• Honorable mention: Kim Rogers (@outriggerhawaii), for her shot of Koloa Mill, Kaua‘i
Do a hashtag search for #hawaiipictures on Instagram to see all the entries.
Grand prize winner Shasta McBride grew up on Kaua‘i, studied art and writing, and lived in New York and Los Angeles “to be near all the art.” Several years ago she traveled around Polynesia and started taking pictures. “The colors in Tahiti and Japan turned me on,” McBride writes via email. “The way the waves formed and broke in New Zealand were different than in Hawai‘i and California. It was right when the apps Hipstamatic and Instagram were kicking off and everyone began playing with these filters—they were good but grainy. Phones and technology have improved so much. I love following the accounts of artists creating good art with this incredible tech.”
We asked her to tell us the circumstances around her winning shot. She shared a sad, beautiful story with us:
“The image is of Anahola’s Kalalea Mountain. I was taking the afternoon off. The weather was so perfect and I wanted to see if the Kealia mauka agriculture development had ever happened because I remembered reading about someone doing a tea and cacao-growing business in the paper years before, and tea and cacao are up there on my list. I drove past the old Island School and up toward the old Kealia slippery slide. I didn’t find any tea or cacao but the view just blew my mind. So I pulled over and crawled through the sun room of my dad’s car to get a better angle for the image. I was right in front of a huge herd of cattle but those images didn’t turn out as well. I was home on Kaua‘i from Los Angeles because my dad had just become very ill with a rare cancer and I was helping my mom care for him during chemo. It was all so fast and unexpected. He was the greatest guy and loves art. He passed just over a month ago. My heart is broken up right now; I am going to miss him big time. I remember posting the image to Instagram that night to try and capture the beauty of life all around me even in incredibly sad times.”
What a wonderful idea this was, and what a wonderful result.