Diamond Kenny Winner Announced

At a small private ceremony at The Palms Hotel lobby, a gathering assembled to bestow the Diamond Kenny to its rightful winner. Rachelle King of Ocean Bay Park arrived accompanied by her 17-year old son Holden, and friend Lisa Jaffe. She beamed with excitement as she accepted her prize. Fire Island News co-owner Laura Mercogliano, editor Shoshanna McCollum, and artist Kenny Goodman were also in attendance.

King was one of seven semi-finalists chosen as part of the Fire Island News 60th Anniversary Reader-Contributor Photo Contest the paper has been running this summer. Her photo “Clambake” was the Issue 7 semi-finalist in a very tight race.

On Friday, Aug. 18, the last phase of the contest was put out for public vote on the Fire Island News Facebook page, and not unlike a race at the Belmont Stakes, the competition was an exiting one. In the early stages of the race, Joanne Guerin Padovano was at the front of the pack, and it was easy to see why. Capturing her niece receiving a proposal of marriage by the Fire Island Lighthouse pulled the heartstrings of many viewers. The un-retouched image taken with simple equipment is a reminder of the adage, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”

However the early lead can be deceptive, and the week progressed King pulled ahead, leaving the rest of the pack in the dust. Suddenly however, Trevor Butterworth, a frequenter of Kismet, came out from behind. By Saturday, Aug. 26, the vote had been out to the public for over a week, with King and Butterworth were locked in a dead heat. Ultimately we took the decision to the Fire Island News owners, as well as Kenny Goodman himself in order to break the tie.

“All of them are true Fire Island pictures – I can see myself there,” said Fire Island News co-owner Chris Mercogliano. “However the clambake photo kind of makes what I have seen before new to me.”

Indeed it was King’s uncanny ability to transform the commonplace that caught our eye in the first place.

Butterworth receives honorable mention in this competition. He diligently submitted entries almost every publication cycle, and the newspaper production staff really enjoyed his painterly, artistic visions of Fire Island. With that said, one of our personal favorites, “Stars Over Kismet” graces our cover for the final issue this season.

Rachelle King is an art teacher in the New York City public school system, and earned her photography degree at Hampshire College. She has been contributing photographs to Fire Island News regularly since 2015. Earlier this season she and Fire Island News Visual Design Director Pamela Gurman shared a “Best Front Page” media award in the 2017 Press Club Long Island (PCLI) award competition. PCLI is among the largest regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists in the country.