essence of elders 1

Sylvie Elm addresses the crowd after winning the amateur intergenerational category during an award ceremony for the Essence of Our Elders photo contest at the Joseph Nelson Center in Suisun City, Thursday.


Photo contest captures essence of the elderly

By From page B8 | May 31, 2014

SUISUN CITY — Blowing out candles on a birthday pie, playing backgammon, the end of a hike are just some of the images people captured for the Senior Coalition of Solano County’s photo contest.

The competition was centered on celebrating the essence of the elderly. Entry guidelines asked that each picture feature one adult, 60 or older, and that photographer and subject be Solano County residents.

Mission accomplished.

Judges had three categories – youth, amateur and professional – to peruse. Within the amateur and professional were divisions for intergenerational, essence and diversity photos.

“We got the traditional to the edgy, the real to the surreal and the simple to the complex,” said Rochelle Sherlock, a consultant to the coalition, before announcing the winners. “These are the people who were able to see beyond the physical features.”

As each nominee was named, their photo was projected onto a viewing screen. Some of the winners shared the stories behind their photographs.

Doris Noriega’s photo of a hiking buddy won first in the amateur diversity category. She and her model are members of the hiking club at Trilogy in Rio Vista. The photo was captured on a trek to Lake Berryessa.

Earning an honorable mention was a photo snapped by Monique Rogers, life activity coordinator at Paradise Valley Estates. It features Gerta Carsch, a petite 4 feet 11 inches, standing next to Frank Yates, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall.

Yates works in maintenance at the facility and stepped off the elevator and found Carsch waiting. Rogers happened upon the scene and snapped the picture.

“I thought, ‘Isn’t that cute,’ ” Rogers said.

“I love her,” Yates said of Carsch.

“I love him,” she said of Yates. “He’s a very nice person.”

Scenes like that are fairly common at Paradise Valley Estates, said life enrichment manager Denise Floweday.

“You get to know these people,” she said of the residents.

The photo contest was prompted by stereotypical images some people have of the elderly, Sherlock said. Those impressions are usually wrong.

“Older adults are filled with life and vitality,” she said. “They are diverse and bring so much to our community.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

First-place winners


  • Justin Laugen, Benicia, “A Proud Grandfather.”


  • Diversity: Doris Noriega, Rio Vista, “At the Top of the Canyon.”
  • Essence: Jade San Juan, Vallejo, “Good Day Cafe.”
  • Intergenerational: Sylvie Elm, Vacaville, “Gone Fishing.”


  • Intergenerational: Richard Stough, Suisun City, “Generations.”
  • Essence: donnio, Vallejo, “Butterfly Dreams.”
  • Diversity: donnio, Vallejo, “Exotic Beauty.”
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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