Two Newsday photographers took home first-place awards in a 2019 New York Press Photographers Association competition for their work highlighting a double-amputee basketball player, graduating high school seniors and a documentary video about a female boxer.
Alejandra Villa Loarca and Shelby Knowles earned three top prizes in the 2019 contest dubbed “Year in Pictures & Multimedia Contest.”
“It is a great honor to have our photographers recognized by the NYPPA. Alejandra and Shelby’s dedication led them to be chosen as the very best in three separate categories,” said John Keating, assistant managing editor for photography at Newsday. “I want to congratulate all the hardworking visual journalists who were awarded prizes and contributed to a terrific showing for Newsday.”
Villa Loarca won first place in the categories of sports picture story and feature. Knowles won first place in the multimedia category for videos longer than five minutes.
Villa Loarca was recognized for her photo essay, composed of multiple still photos, of Amaya Williams, the double-amputee who plays high school basketball in Copiague. Her win in the feature category was for a picture titled “Senior Walk.” The picture captured Farmingdale High School graduating seniors who participated in an event at their alma mater’s elementary school meant to inspire the next generation of “Dalers.”
Knowles was recognized for her documentary video called “Being the Empress” about Long Island native Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa, a World Boxing Council welterweight champ.
The documentary highlighted a typical and hectic day for Napoleon-Espinosa while she trained for a fight.
A normal day for Napoleon-Espinosa includes her waking up during predawn hours and teaching multiple morning classes at a boxing club she co-owns. The video also captured the boxer during a run and while she trained at a gym in Brooklyn.
Newsday photographers won 22 awards in the competition.