19th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Peninsula People
"Essie and the Beater"
By Sherann Ellsworth
About Sherann Ellsworth
Click on photo for larger image.
Menlo Park resident Sherann Ellsworth has been interested in photography since her high school days in the 1970s, and loves hitting the road with her camera and husband in tow, seeing what new and intriguing sights she can capture through her lens. But for her award-winning photo "Essie and the Beater," her subject matter was a bit closer to home.
The photo, which shows a gleeful toddler proudly holding out the whipped-cream-bearing utensil she has just licked clean, was taken over last year's Christmas holiday. The cherubic child is Ellsworth's great niece, Essie, then aged 1.5.
"She though it was the best thing she ever had," Ellsworth said of the tyke. "Her eyes are just sparkling, saying, 'try this!'"
The photo, along with others Ellsworth created in montage as a gift for Essie's mother, was an instant family hit -- including with Essie herself.
"She says, 'She is pretty! Look at me!'" she recalled, laughing.
For her next photo adventure, Ellsworth, who works at Stanford, plans to continue her recent tradition of an annual three-week road trip around the West Coast, snapping pictures of people and places she finds along the way.
"We like to take the roads less traveled, get out there and see what you see. It's great to be out in nature, away from the pressures at work. We've been doing it for the past seven years," she said.
Proud aunt Ellsworth plans to use her prize money from winning the Weekly's photo contest to start a college fund for Essie. After all, "It's her first modeling job!," she said. "I just captured a moment in time."
"Essie and the Beater" is not your typical baby photo. Surrounded in warm pastel tones and soft lighting, the toddler eagerly holds out a beater wiped clean, her face smothered in sugary confection as her tongue eagerly licks at the sweetness. The photographer has focused on a playful and messy moment, capturing the sheer fun of being 2 again.