In the beginning...
Photo of the Year (also known as POTY) was conceived by two friends, John and Brian, during a run on the trails of Tryon Creek State Park in Portland, Oregon during the fall of 2002. The idea was to showcase the incredible photos our friends had taken on their travels and adventures during the year. We realized "the circle of friends" had an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, and then capturing the moment. Those photos deserved to be shared! So we asked friends to submit photos and launched a contest. The Photo of the Year 2002 Awards Party was held in conjunction with a friend's Christmas Party and definitely proved more successful than we expected. The contest grew in 2003 with more entrants and the Awards Party held at the Lucky Lab Brewing Company.
A light bulb moment: Let's benefit a good cause!
With the success of POTY 2002 and 2003, we knew the idea was something that all kinds of people could get excited about. We also thought the money we raised could go towards a cause we felt good about. So in 2004, we teamed up with Outdoor School to turn POTY into a fundraiser for its outdoor education program. Outdoor School provides a unique outdoor education experience to Portland youth and is a program we love to support. It is our goal each year to gather enough sponsorship support such that the vast majority of proceeds from photo entries and Awards Gala tickets are donated to the Friends of Outdoor School. So far, this approach has worked well – with your support we’ve raised over $100,000 for Outdoor School!
POTY events since 2004 have grown in ways we never imagined! The number of photos submissions keep rising, online voting participation continues to spiral, sponsor support has increased and we have had packed houses at all of the Awards Galas. Yeah, we like to think of them as "Galas." Events that take place at venues like the Lucky Lab Brewing Company, Weiden & Kennedy, the World Forestry Center, and the Oregon Historical Society (oh yeah, and Bart’s house) are allowed to be called Galas.
Long Live POTY!
Photo of the Year is run by a small group of dedicated volunteers and has been supported by Uncage the Soul Productions. With the efforts of Friends of Outdoor School, support from our sponsors, and your participation, Photo of the Year 2012 is poised to showcase more amazing photography and raise thousands of dollars for the Outdoor School!
So, don't wait, get out there and take those cool photos!
- The Photo of the Year Team