2020 Ian Walsh Photography Contest

By Jordan Whitehouse

The annual Ian Walsh Photography Contest is back for its sixth year, and once again professional photogs and amateurs alike are being called upon to show off the best of Kingston through their lenses. This year’s theme is Colourful Kingston and the winners will take home hefty prizes: $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place.

Golden Hour Never Waits by Brody McMaster (2016 People’s Choice Winner)

To enter, head to visitkingston.ca/makers/ian-walsh-photography-contest and upload your digital files. A panel of judges consisting of professional photographers and affiliates will judge all entries based on originality, creativity, technical proficiency, uniqueness, appropriateness, and relevance to the theme. The sponsors are Visit Kingston and Alphabet Creative.

Photo by Adam Correia

Started by Kingston Accommodation Partners (KAP), the contest was always meant to be a way to encourage and honour the artistic community in Kingston, says Heather Ford, who owns Green Acres Inn and helped come up with the idea for the contest. “And when Ian passed away in 2014, we really wanted to do something that honoured him and had an artistic bent, and this just made perfect sense.”

It made sense because Ian was such a champion of the arts in Kingston, says Heather, who had been a friend of Ian’s since the 1980s. Not only was he a charter board member of Kingston WritersFest, but when he helped launch KAP in 2004, he was adamant that the promotional group encourage artists here. The reason, says Heather, was that he saw artists as a big part of what makes Kingston so great.

Photo by Troy Johnson

Ian, along with his partner Donna Mallory, was also the proprietor of the Hotel Belvedere, and in the 1990s he played a big role in advocating for a hospitality industry program at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. Later, he was part of the inaugural board of RTO 9, a regional tourism organization that promotes tourism in South Eastern Ontario.

“His leadership style was really compelling,” says Heather. “He was always rational, and had a quiet persistence and impeccable manners that made him a great leader and someone people were happy to line up with. He always believed in the best for the community and celebrating it.”

Photo by Cade Imogen

And celebrating the community is what this contest is all about, adds Heather, whether it’s Kingstonians or tourists doing the photo-taking. Previous years’ contest themes have included Enjoying Kingston (2015), Fresh Made Daily (2016), Creative Kingston (2017), and #YumGK (2018).

The 2019 theme was Made in Kingston, and featured pics capturing the city’s vibrant maker community—everything from plated entrees, to Martello Alley, to musicians on stage, to a painting of Welling Street in December.

As with previous years, entrants can enter a maximum of five photos. All judging criteria will be weighed equally, but in the event of a tie, the photo with the highest score in creativity will be selected as the winner.

Moment in Time by Lars Hagberg (2016 Second Place Winner [Open])
Whether entrants are successful in nabbing any of the $5,000 in prize money, though, what’s most important about this contest is celebrating Kingston and honouring one of its finest, says Heather. “Ian was just a remarkable person and had the qualities one would want in a friend and a business leader. This is a great way to remember him.