Winning Photos Reveal a Heart for Lakeland

Hannah Hallock had just left Starbucks when she was captivated by the colorful lights of the Southgate arch and their reflection in the parking lot’s puddles. She kneeled down, aligned her iPhone 11 Pro on the pavement, tilted it toward the arch and took the photo that would later win the top prize in LkldNow’s Scene in Lkld photo contest.

Her photo, “A Snapshot in Time,” was the unanimous choice for the Judge’s Selection by the three-judge panel. It also also popular with readers, receiving the second-highest number of votes when the 158 contest entries were put up for a vote during the first two weeks of December.

Two other winners were selected based on the votes their photos generated. More on them below.

Hallock, a 22-year-old certified nursing assistant and nursing student at Southeastern University, said she did no editing and used no filters in her photo of the famous arch at the Southgate Shopping Center.

The arch, built in 1957, got international exposure when it was used in the 1990 Tim Burton film “Edward Scissorshands.” Hallock, a Lakeand native, wasn’t born when the movie came out, but her mom saw the shooting take place when she went shopping at Southgate one day in 1990.

“My family has always loved that movie and the sweet nostalgic look of the arches. It’s almost like a Southgate is a snapshot in time,” Hallock said.

The judges praised both the photo’s beauty and its rendering of a Lakeland icon.

“While there are many possible sites — and sights — that could embody Lakeland and the Lakeland experience, there is something about the Southgate arch that seems emblematically ‘Lakeland,’ ” wrote judge Alex Rich, executive director and chief curator at the Polk Museum of Art.  “Wisely, Hannah Hallock selected to submit a view that carries with it many connotations and memories for so many of us, and her photo thus takes a collectively shared landmark of this city and turns it into a personalized image of beauty.”

Contest judge Jordan Weiland, a professional photographer and communications specialist at Florida Southern College, said: “The unmistakable Lakeland landmark was captured in a creative way, encapsulating the neon lights and rain puddle reflections. It caught my eye and kept bringing me in, making for a beautiful photograph.”

As winner of the Judge’s Selection, Hallock is receiving a $200 gift certificate to Claussen’s Fine Furniture, a $100 Visa gift card, a $25 Publix gift card and a LkldNow T-shirt.

People’s Choice

Iris Pereles is a 36-year-old and homeschooling mom who likes to take her sons to Lake Parker for lessons about Florida’s ecosystems. It was there that she took this photo, “Blue Silhouette,” with her Canon EOS 70D and a telephoto lens. It gathered the most votes in the contest, winning the People’s Choice Award.

“We love Lakeland and we love visiting the lakes. We get to bond with our children as we study and watch birds. ‘Blue Silhouette’ represents the times we have shared as a family this challenging year,” said Pereles, who moved to Lakeland four years ago when her husband’s trucking job brought them here.

She describes herself as a retired professional wedding photographer and an amateur nature photographer.

As winner of the People’s Choice Award, she receives $75 in Visa gift cards, a $25 Publix gift certificate and a Lkldnow T-shirt.

People’s Choice Runner-Up

Lakeland native Erica Mortimer lives in Jacksonville now but returns to her hometown frequently to visit family. When she does, she often walks around Lake Morton.

“This particular evening, a swan happened to be right in between the two trees with the sun going down. I thought it would make a great picture to have to remind me of home,” the 49-year-old teacher said.

Her photo, “Heart of Lakeland,” with twin cypress trees forming a valentine shape around a swan, won the People’s Choice Runner-up Award in the Scene in Lkld contest.

She describes herself as a photography hobbyist who often takes a camera with her and always has her phone handy for photos. Her winning photo was taken with an iPhone 11 Pro.

The setting of the photo has special meanings to her: “My maternal grandparents met at a church social on the lawn at a house on the south side of Lake Morton. My grandparents used to take my mother and her siblings to Lake Morton to feed the ducks. This tradition continued with my brothers and me after my mother had a family. My husband and I were married at First United Methodist Church on Lake Morton. After we had children, we would take them down to Lake Morton to feed the ducks or to enjoy Mayfaire-by-the-Lake.”

As a contest winner, Mortimer receives a $25 Visa gift card and a $25 Publix gift card.

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