NSJ photographers win big at statewide awards

RALEIGH —— Photographs. Some visually depict the magnitude of despair, the triumph in winning, the eccentric measures of a personality or the unusualness one might otherwise miss. For the North State Journal photography team, capturing the diverse lives of North Carolinians with a camera has brought storytelling to life and garnered them statewide recognition. Photojournalists Madeline Gray, Christine Nguyen and Eamon Queeney earned 21 awards from the N.C. Press Photographers Association’s 2016 Awards, including Photo Staff of the Year, Photographer of the Year Runner-Up, and Sports Photographer of the Year Runner-Up.

“Our goal is capture the diversity and heart of North Carolina in our photographs,” said Nguyen, who received 10 individual awards. “We hope to provide readers with a greater understanding of how small moments in people’s lives and big events shape our state.”

Queeney, who was the runner-up for Sports Photographer of the Year, added, “We want to give readers a look inside the everyday lives of their neighbors — ordinary North Carolinians —through times of happiness, sadness and everything in between.”

Gray won runner-up for Photographer of the Year. “As a team we work really well together to find the images that best tell a complete story,” Gray said. “The process is very collaborative and we continually strive to improve our photography. We challenge each other to push ourselves. Then working closely with the design team allows us to present our images in a dynamic way and further collaborate with the entire team at the newspaper. Most importantly, we hope to shed light on stories that shape the diverse lives of North Carolinians,” she added.

Each member of the photography team brings together varied backgrounds and photography styles to create the depth of visuals displayed in print.”I find beauty in intimate moments that provide insight into a person’s personality and story,” said Nguyen. “I strive to capture these moments creatively.”

“In photography I value compassionate storytelling, personal moments and creative image making,” Gray said. “If I’m shooting a seemingly mundane scene, I try to find something unexpected to create a photograph that shows the situation in a different way. But most of all I aim to show the emotion, passion, sadness and wonder that people express every day in so many unique ways.”

Queeney added, “It is hard for me to call my photography a style, since I think it develops on a near constant basis, but if I had to narrow down the themes it would be classic photojournalism with a bent for the weird or humorous.”

The team brings varied styles together for the common purpose of showcasing the people of North Carolina. “While we certainly do not do the job for the awards; when they do come, it is a nice affirmation that someone else can think we are on the right track,” Queeney said.