Worth a thousand words
Moorpark photographer captures more than just an important award
By Shane Cohn 01/05/2012
Sure, it was a big deal for a local photographer to achieve international acclaim for his work in 2011. But for Kevin Charbonneau, his work has only just begun.
Charbonneau, a Moorpark resident and photographer, took home the Silver Award in one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the world. The 2011 International Loupe Awards (formerly known as the International Aperture Awards) received more than 4,500 entries from professional and amateur photographers in 90 different countries, and doled out more than $80,000 in cash and prizes.
“Every once in a while, you have that moment where you catch that special look,” said Charbonneau, about his award-winning pelican photo. “And this one had it.”
With the judges including Charbonneau’s photo to stand next to the work of some of the most elite photographers in the world, it capped a meritorious year for the 50-year-old photographer, who began taking the craft seriously only three years ago. In 2011, his images also won best of show at the Conejo Valley Wide Open Photography show, finalist at the Camera USA National Photography Award, first place for the People’s Choice Award at the Ventura County Fair, and first place at the Moorpark Arts Festival.
Charbonneau said that while the awards are a nice complement to the craft he has been honing with the help of the Ventura County Camera Club, a monthly photography group, he isn’t aspiring to quit his day job as a software consultant to join the ranks of professional photographers. Instead, he has been volunteering his free time as an event photographer at Casa Pacifica, the Camarillo-based center that serves abused and neglected children and adolescents.
“The purpose of these pictures (for Casa Pacifica) is that it is for the kids to have,” said Charbonneau. “When we grew up, parents took pictures of us to have, but these kids don’t have that.”
Along with the Casa Pacifica Amigos, a group that sponsors events and activities for the children at the center, Charbonneau is also zooming in on setting up a Casa Pacifica camera club. It would be the same concept as Ventura County Camera Club, with professional photographers making monthly appearances, teaching technique while offering critiques of participants’ work and sharing photography excursions.
“We did something like this before with disposable cameras, but not with digital,” said Dennis Murphy, founder of the Casa Pacifica Amigos. Murphy said the results were striking because it opened a new form of expression for the children. “They are getting a chance to see the world differently, and now we can see the world through their eyes. With digital, they can take that even further.”
But in order for the Amigos and Charbonneau to introduce the camera club, they will, of course, need some cameras. They are asking the public to donate compact digital cameras to Casa Pacifica Amigos, 1722 S. Lewis Road, Camarillo 93012.
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