Destin Boys and Girls Club member wins photography award

Jennie McKeon
Rylee Brown’s portrait of her friend Naya earned her first place honors.

Fourth-grader at Destin Elementary, Rylee Brown had never really expressed an interest in photography before.

However, when the local Boys and Girls Club participated in the national ImageMakers Photography Contest, Brown, a member of the Destin club, submitted a photo.  To her surprise, she won first place.

The ImageMakers contest spans all of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coasts. Submissions to the contest were divided by age group and category — Culture & Tradition, Portraits, Surroundings, Portraits and One of Kind, which requires an essay and poem to accompany.

Submissions were displayed at the BBVA Compass Bank lobby in Fort Walton Beach, where the community was invited to judge between Feb. 18 and 20.

Brown's photo of her friend, Naya, won 1st Place in the Portrait category. The photo is a close-up of Naya bearing a wide smile. It was a photo that Brown snapped on a whim.

"I just thought she had a pretty smile," Brown said.

After this contest, Brown said she'd like to take more pictures — primarily portraits. But for now, it's just a hobby.

Brown's photograph will compete at the regional level later this month. Regional winners will then be judged nationally. For more information about the ImageMakers contest, visit