College of Fine Arts student Jory Vander Galien took the grand prize in the New Mexico Tourism Department's Day of Enchantment photo contest. He receives $10,000 for his photo, "San Ysidro."
The photo also garnered the contest's fifth week prize, handcrafted Acoma Pueblo pottery. Another photo by Vander Galien, "Albuquerque," won the sixth week prize, a two-night fishing package at the Lodge at Chama.
The photo contest was a cornerstone of the Tourism Department's Be Enchanted advertising campaign, designed to encourage New Mexicans to spend more leisure dollars in state.
"Our challenge was to bring our Land of Enchantment to life, and we believe the photo contest did just that," Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti said. "Epic in its diversity, beauty and brimming with fierce visionaries and the unusual, New Mexico has an effect on people. Along with the Be Enchanted campaign, the photo contest cut through the media clutter out there by generating excitement and bringing that diversity and beauty to life."
Vander Galien captured "San Ysidro" facing west near Cabezon Peak. "Looking into the skies of New Mexico never tires the eye," he wrote with his entry. "This approaching shower was almost cryptically illuminated, resulting in a ghost-like scene."
He photographed "Albuquerque" during a summer lightning storm, facing northeast from Paradise Hills toward Sandia Casino.
"The photos in this contest are out of this world, and I feel very fortunate to have been selected from among such amazing talent," he said. "I am not a native New Mexican, but this contest has given me appreciation for my new home state."
Vander Galien is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art studio.
In all, 14,830 photo contest entries were submitted and 176,288 votes cast, generating 712,112 Web page views. Vander Galien's two winning photos received the most votes – more than 3,600 each. In addition to votes, contest judges considered creativity and relevance to the theme.
The award is sponsored by the New Mexico Tourism Department, in conjunction media sponsor KOAT. Visit dayofenchantment.com. The site remains live until October.
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