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    Loudoun photographers earn honors, work on display in Herndon

    “Filing Away” by Dora Ramirez of CountrySide earned first place in the ArtSpace Fine Art Photography Competition.
    Some of the best fine art photography in the region is being created by Loudouners, and their latest award-winning work can be seen this month at the ArtSpace gallery in Herndon.

    The exhibit marks the sixth annual ArtSpace Fine Art Photography Competition, an event that features four Loudoun County residents – including a married couple from CountrySide – in the field of nine honorees selected for the competition’s top honors.

    Dora Ramirez of CountrySide was awarded first place for a close-up image of the hardworking hands of a munitions craftsman shaping a bullet. Titled “Filing Away,” the sepia-toned photo on a canvas 24-by-36 inches in size was captured at the Waterford Fair with only a single photograph taken of the worker.

    Three Loudouners won half of the competition’s six honorable mention awards.

    Gerry D’Onofrio of CountrySide, the husband of first-place honoree Ramirez, was recognized for his photo, “Cruising,” a black and white image of a 1954 Chevrolet making its way through Harpers Ferry. The car and the road’s center lines appear in bright yellow, a perfect counterpoint to the sense of stopped time in the mostly black and white photo.

    Cindy Vasko of Ashburn received a nod for her color image, “Abandoned Despair,” a look inside the abandoned Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia. The photo is a meditation on a long unused cell block seen through a barred entryway. Countless shreds of decaying paint hang from the prison ceiling; the unusually large and jagged strips look like torn ribbons or flags of fabric.

    Chad Blair of South Riding was recognized for his image titled “Udvar-Hazy Evening.” The black and white photo captured the air and space museum as night was falling, creating a view that made the building resemble an otherworldly 1950's science fiction fantasy.

    The four photographs were selected 300 images submitted for the competition by 97 photographers. After a two-week screening process, a finalist round of 40 images by 31 photographers was selected for the gallery exhibit. The competition was judged by noted photographer Carla Steckley, who has been recognized with 94 first-place awards and 22 photographer-of-the-year honors in the categories of black and white prints, color prints and color slides.

    The 2015 Fine Art Photography Exhibit will be on display until March 22 at ArtSpace at 750 Center St. in Herndon. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Information is available online at

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