The Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest Winners! 07.06.2012

The Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest Winners!


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis


In honour of Asian Heritage Month in May, The Bibliotaphe’s Closet hosted The Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest from May to June.

While a number of submissions were made, it’s clear that there are many photography enthusiasts with a creative and instinctive eye, which truly made my job a difficult, but extremely enjoyable one in trying to choose a final winner.

So, rather than award only one winner with one book, I’ve decided to increase the number of winners to award a first place, second place, and third place standing for the contest with added prizes as opposed to the original post in consideration of the quality and creativity of the photos entered, which makes me want to throw cherry blossoms up in the air in celebration!

Pink sakura. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.


The third place winner will receive a Chinese lucky coin packaged in a Chinese lucky red envelope and a jade elephant pendant.


The second place winner will receive his or her choice of book listed for the contest from The Book Depository that is related to the cherry blossom theme as well as a Chinese lucky coin in a Chinese lucky red envelope and a green jade elephant pendant that will be separately mailed from me.


And the first prize winner will receive his or her book of choice listed for the contest, a Chinese lucky coin with a Chinese lucky red envelope, a green jade elephant pendant, and a 50 mL glass bottle of Japanese Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette from Bath and Body Works.


For those of you who shied away from submitting a photo for this contest, don’t you wish you did? Not to worry. The photo entries and the process impressed me so much as an avid photographer myself that I’ve decided to host a periodical photo contest at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet on various topics. So, be sure to get your camera ready and click, click, click!

Now, for a kumi-daiko drum roll, please…


Third Prize


The photo awarded third prize goes to:

Staci A.

for her black and white submission of Two men talking in Chinatown.

Third Prize Winner: Two men talking in Chinatown. (c) Staci A., 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I chose this photo as a winner not only because of its black and white treatment, but because I especially love its visual story—the one that is told through the “unheard,” yet animated dialogue between the two Asian men against the backdrop of Chinatown. It’s a creative and raw depiction, layered with meaning.

Congratulations Staci on A job well done!


Second Prize


The photo awarded second prize goes to:

Jen F. of Perogies and Gyoza

for her submission of Cherry Blossom Shrine.

Second Prize Winner: Cherry Blossom Shrine. (c) Jen F., 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I chose this photo for its shy beauty and subtlety. It features both the cherry blossom and an Asian theme with the light sakura set against a shrine in Japan. I love the photo’s juxtaposition and the fact that the photo on a whole is not contrived. Jen saw beauty at an angle that was composed of both the blossom and Japanese architecture and took a shot that reveals her instinctive eye as a photographer.

The outcome? A simplicity and airy lightness that resounds both the delicacy and beauty of the sakura cherry blossom, which shyly hangs its flowers and flowering buds from the top and tip of the photograph to the traditional beauty and grace embedded in Japanese culture that is evoked by the architectural shrine, which stands firm on the ground as the base and backdrop of the photo. Even the stone head of the dragon, which was most likely unintentionally cut off at the bottom of the photo, peeks from the edge, hinting at the controlled, yet passionate decorum of majesty, pride, folklore, and tradition found within the beauty and heart of Japan.

Thank you, Jen, for submitting such a simple, yet evocative photo.

The visual story it tells is one that is both of beauty, art, and shy subtlety without its blatant attempt to do so, which is what I love about this photograph. Congratulations! I sincerely hope you enjoy your prizes. They are well deserved.


First Prize


And the photo awarded first prize goes to:

Justine L.

for her submission of Palace Doorway taken in Korea.

First Prize Winner: Palace Doorway. (c) Justine L., 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


I chose this photo for its beautiful Asian architecture as found in the detailing of the gate’s roof, its perfect centering, clarity, and colour—but especially for its movement and “image within an image” capture as told by the angle and context in which the photo was taken.

Its wide open gates first offer an outstretched invitation into the photograph that not only beckons, but calls out to its viewer, “Look at me. Come in. Welcome. There is a story here.”

The photo simultaneously depicts both an external and an internal place; a cohesive and symbiotic relationship as shown by its frame and context. There is the external space that is clearly defined by the viewer’s place outside the palace walls when first looking at the image.

But even though the photo and its palace walls are blatantly still, the viewer’s eyes are not only first caught into the outstretched arms of the green doors at the mouth its gates, but must travel further into the photograph to the tree gardens within the palace walls.

This movement is both natural, necessary, and enriches the photographic experience. For this, the “image within an image” is successfully portrayed and the intelligence and instinctive sensitivity of the photographer is clearly revealed.

Congratulations Justine on your exquisite capture of a significant part of Korea’s cultural architecture and history!


Emails will be sent out shortly to all the winners who will need to acknowledge and confirm their win by responding to the notification.

A special thanks to all who participated in The Cherry Blossom (or Asian Theme) Photo Contest and for humbly submitting their creative and intuitive work.

I thoroughly enjoyed previewing all photos that were submitted and appreciate the work and creativity that were behind each one.

Until the next photo contest, may you capture the best visual stories behind your lens!


What kind of thematic topics would you like to see featured in upcoming photo contests here at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet?


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