Picture taken at Rockford’s Nicholas Conservatory wins international award

"Plant Life Matrix," by Cindy Vondran.
“Plant Life Matrix,” by Cindy Vondran.

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

A local photographer can now call herself an international award-winner.

Cindy Vondran, of Rockton, Ill., recently won the Highly Commended Award in the igopoty.com International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

Her submission, a macro of a philodendron leaf called “Plant Life Maxtix,” was taken at the Nicholas Conservatory and entered in the Beauty of Plants category. The shot was among 50 Vondran submitted to the England-based contest.

I sent them a lot, hoping they’d select one they liked,” Vondran said.

Vondran entered the contest last October. She was notified of the award Feb. 13.

Aside from inclusion on the contest website, “Plant Life Matrix” will soon be displayed at the conservatory.

I am delighted to bring international attention to Rockford by showcasing one of the many positive attributes of the city,” she said.

While this is her first international award, Vondran has had her work displayed across the United States. Over the past several years, she has had pieces in major markets, something she says keeps her job interesting.

It’s funny because you can be rejected in Milwaukee, but in New York and Los Angeles, you get in,” Vondran said. “Sometimes, ‘ugly’ is what they are looking for. They’ll reach for the avant-garde abstract stuff.”

Vondran attributes much of her success to her willingness to work when others are nestled in their beds. Because she works with nature, Vondran is in the field before the sun, even while Midwest temperatures are well below zero.

I love being outdoors,” she said. “I shoot ice and water, so I love being out at 5 a.m., even in freezing temperatures.”

Although she uses Photoshop, Vondran does most of her photograph manipulation in-camera, which gives her work a unique flare. That, she says, also gives her an edge.

Vondran is one of several photographers featured at the Beloit Fine Arts Incubator and in the pop-up art show, The Daylight Hours, Friday, March 14, in downtown Rockford. Her work will also be in Spring ArtScene April 11-12, at the 317 Gallery, and the Rockford Midwestern, May 16-Sept. 28 at the Rockford Art Museum.

More of Cindy’s work can be seen at cindyvondranphotography.com.

From the March 19-25, 2014, issue

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