There are a few things in my photography career that I'm proud of. Here is the latest...I won first place in a Pioneer Woman Photography contest titled "Love".

Love: The Winner!
Posted by Ree in Photo Assignments
It was so difficult to pick a winning photo from among the submissions. Each photo told a different story, each one touched me in different ways.
The winner of the “Love” assignment is…

"The life and love we create is the life and love we live."

Anniebluesky! I love this photo because it perfectly captures what love is all about. It makes no effort to airbrush or soften, and it celebrates lifelong love. The scratches give the photo such realness, and I love that they’re both blinging it up with their respective bracelets. Love!
Yes...I'm anniebluesky on flickr. Don't judge me.

Here are some comments from that contest...

80 Comments and 12 Replies
JILL On Monday, June 18 at 11:44 pm
Congratulations, Anniebluesky!
the farmer's wife On Monday, June 18 at 11:48 pm
That’s funny you thought it was a wedding. No ring. I thought they might be dancing at a concert. I’d love to know the scoop, too! That’s the fun thing about a photo; it can tell whatever story you want it to if you don’t know the context.

Amanda On Tuesday, June 19 at 6:57 am
It’s actually my little sister and her boyfriend at her junior (his senior) prom! I was going to caption it, but I loved that a viewer could make up their own story.

the farmer's wife On Thursday, June 21 at 1:57 pm
Thanks for “the rest of the story” : )

Teri On Thursday, July 5 at 3:39 pm
I too thought it could be a wedding, but not that they were the wedding couple, maybe guests. Very sweet.
Connie H On Monday, June 18 at 11:52 pm
So excited you picked this one. It was my favorite of all of them too!!!
Catie On Tuesday, June 19 at 12:34 am
Even though my photo was one of the finalists, I’m glad you picked the one you did. It’s perfect. :)

jana On Tuesday, June 19 at 9:57 pm
I agree! I loved the hands photo from the start.
Also, my son is only 3 1/2 but he would like all of you to know that that’s him in the picture with my husband, not a little girl. Sam does have gorgeous hair, so it’s not the first or the last time he’s been mistaken for a girl.
Brancy Young On Tuesday, June 19 at 12:54 am
I so concur, it had to be that one…
Tish C Hill On Tuesday, June 19 at 1:14 am
Congrats to all the finalists and winner! They are all so amazing…thanks for sharing!!! :) I’ve been feeling the love all week!
Christy @ Angel Dreamz On Tuesday, June 19 at 1:26 am
Congrats to all the finalists and winners. Truly beautiful work all of you.
Jacki On Tuesday, June 19 at 2:18 am
I loved the LOVE!
Cathy On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:06 am
This was my favorite as well. After all that is what we hope and wish for, love lasting love.
Melissa from the Blue House On Tuesday, June 19 at 5:24 am
LOVE these, and sooo wish I had entered one of my own because NOBODY is, like, SO IN LOVE as much as my new husband and me. ;)
I can’t wait to be that old couple with the wrinkly hands…

BB On Thursday, June 21 at 9:30 pm
Oh I loved this comment!!! Loved the pics too, but this sentiment is gorgeous…
We are halfway to being that old couple with wrinkly hands.
Bobbie On Tuesday, June 19 at 6:16 am
Big Congratulations to Anniebluesky!
I love their bling, too :)
beth h. On Tuesday, June 19 at 6:26 am
Congratulations! What an extraordinary picture — it took my breath away when I first saw it, and I keep thinking of it.
I’d love to know some more about it — who they are, their story. Any more details possible? Please tell them how they have touched all of us!
lynn l On Tuesday, June 19 at 6:31 am
I totally agree with your choice for the winner! Love it!!
Theresa in Alberta On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:11 am
All of the pictures were just lovely, but this one is worth more than a thousand words eh!
Congratulations to all.
Cindy S in MA On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:19 am
I would have picked this picture … it just moved me. I have been dealing with my parents aging and seeing this picture just reminded of their 65 years of love for one another even when everything was not perfect.
Kathy H. On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:39 am
LOVE the winning photo and it’s the one I would have picked!
I can’t stop thinking about it either. All the submissions were outstanding
and I enjoyed looking at every one!
julie On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:47 am
Oh my….how do you ever pick? I’d be up all night for days! Good job PW.
Denise S. On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:00 am
All the pictures were beautiful but this was my favorite…good choice.
sarah On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:04 am
Congrats, Anniebluesky! That was my favorite, but for some reason I didn’t think it would win. I adore it.
Kati On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:09 am
Great choice! That was one of my favorites!!! :)
Ami A in LA On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:16 am
I love the winner! I imagine these two people working side by side outdoors for many years, knowing that all the hard work pays off – in a loving family & a beautiful partnership! Absolutely my favorite.
Ginger-Schminger On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:19 am
I love the photo by JeezyDeezy. I imagine what a fun life that child will have with parents who are obviously so full of life and fun.
The winning picture is fabulous. It just goes to show that true love never dies. =)
Sherry On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:25 am
Enjoyed the whole process! I had a feeling that would be your winner, loved it myself for all the same reasons :)
Sarah Neal On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:28 am
I totally agree with your selection. That’s what I want to be doing when my hands look like that! :)

Teri On Thursday, July 5 at 3:45 pm
Sarah, is that your bride and father photo? WOW WOW WOW. My nose stung as well, and my eyes filled, before I even read Ree’s comment.
CheyAnne Sexton On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:29 am
I loved that one of the couples hands from the very beginning and when it made it to the finalists, I was secretly hoping it would win ….and it did! Yeah, congrats Anniebluesky.
and all the others are just so very wonderful and touching thats for sure.
Thanks Ree
Lauren On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:34 am
Great choice – I really love that picture. Hope it’s hanging on their wall somewhere!
Paula R On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:38 am
This was my favorite also! It reminds me of my Mother and Father-in-law who will celebrate 63 years of marriage soon and, he still calls her his bride. And, my mom-in-law loves her jewelry too!
katie in montana On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:53 am
Well done P-dub!
Monie On Tuesday, June 19 at 9:40 am
Congratulations to Anniebluesky. What an amazing image. I’m so happy that you chose this one, Ree. ALL of the images are wonderful, but this one speaks volumes to me. It is an almost effortless love that flows forth for babies, children, weddings, etc., and those in-fatuous loves are all precious and wonderful…but there is something about a love that has endured. Those hands speak of an enduring love for me…a love that has weathered the trials and tribulations of life together. I see a fully ripened love in those hands. The fact that they have that bling going on just makes me want to know them even more! Great job, Ree…great job everyone.

Faith On Tuesday, June 19 at 8:00 pm
Well said, Monie. I loved that picture the minute I saw it. All of them were touching in some way but I couldn’t stop seeing anniebluesky’s picture in my head. It really does speak volumes.
Toni E. On Tuesday, June 19 at 9:58 am
Nice, nice photo anniebluesky. Along with many of the other readers this was also one of my favorites. I have a whole story going on around the photo, and that tells me the picture communicates such volumes.
Thank you Ree, for a great contest with super shots for us to enjoy.
TeresainFlorida On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:00 am
Beautiful photography makes me cry too. It’s so emotional.
TeresaInFlorida On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:03 am
Love your photo assignments. What will be the next subject area? Can’t wait!
Tammy On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:03 am
I would have chosen the same winner. There is something about the two weathered hands: wrinkled, aged and injured… yet, still clinging to each other. (And I LOVE her Pandora bracelet. I have some of the same charms!)
Lindy On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:03 am
I love this picture, it captures what love is all about. In a world of people trying hard to look young this picture tells it all the hands of time.
Bonnie from Louisiana On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:09 am
I am SOOOOOO glad you picked that photo Ree. That is by far one of my all-time favorites posted. Congrats to the winner and to the people who have those wonderful love-filled hands.
Teri L. On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:24 am
I’ve got goose bumps after seeing the winner….it’s the one I would have picked as well….you know there’s love there & there is so many stories that it can represent! Job well done & the photo is priceless!
Talea On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:31 am
The winner was clearly the winner for me in all the photos you posted over the last few days.
and the finalists are all superb, no doubt.
My finalists would have included the hands; the bride with her dad, such raw emotion; the mom with her two boys, such joy in motherhood; jeezy deezy’s couple, one of the best posed shots I’ve ever seen because I got a real sense of both personalities.
MY other finalists would have included:
– By hilde — the old man’s lap with his dog; The older I get, the more I realize that when you’re elderly and your partner is gone, your dog is your best friend.
– donna marchlewski’s pic of the backs of her 8 grandchildren on the dock in group no. 8 — the love I saw was hers in the camera lense, that of a grandmother overwhelmed by those 8 lovely children whose backs we could see, but she was probably visualizing all those precious faces.
– sarahneal’s older couple on a couch. That just captured the intimacy of a long-married couple and I loved the colors.
– From group 7, the shot of the grandpa coloring his granddaughter’s nails.
– from group 4: By melanie327; the elderly man smelling his wife’s corsage. How courtly and the pleasure is evident on her face.
– from group 4: By smoochiemom. Daughter and dad sacked out in his recliner. Now’s that’s trust and love.
I’m older and I guess I now respond more to shots of love that is not obvious. All the couples in the more traditional shots and all the parents in posed shots with their children were lovely, But I like the ones that see love from a different perspective.

Kellie On Tuesday, June 19 at 3:14 pm
I totally agree with you on your choices. While all the wedding and couple shots were lovely those candid moments are the ones that took my breath away. The one of the grandpa painting the little girls nails made a catch in my throat. so sweet and touching.
I am glad that the one that won was chosen. I so love his hard scratched up hand holding hers so tenderly.
Misha H On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:33 am
Nice choice. There were so many nice pictures of Love. Good job everyone!
Lynn J On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:42 am
Congratulations everyone so many beautiful photos.
randi in canada On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:42 am
Perfect choice, even the pandora bracelet says love from friends and famly

JennieRC On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:51 am
So true! I didn’t think of it in that way. It’s funny, I never wanted one of those bracelets, but this woman in the photo wears it well. Awesome and I love your point.
Christie McGetrick On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:57 am
That is the one I picked. I just loved the hands.

patricia On Wednesday, June 20 at 8:56 pm
I know, that one is soo tender…
Erin On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:00 am
Honored to have even been included as a finalist (heck, at all!) And happy to have “lost” to the winning photo as it truly is such a beautiful photo. Such an intersting, different composition with a story to tell. The details are so unique. I’m happy this won. One of my favorites, hands down. Thank you PW (and I still feel like I kinda won just by being chosen as a finalist!)

pat in Texas On Wednesday, June 20 at 9:26 am
You are a winner….. I am glad I wasn’t the judge because all the pictures spoke love in some way or another… thanks for entering…
Yanica On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:13 am
Ree, for the first time I absolutely 100% agree with you on the winner! There is no love like that of a couple who’s been through a long life together, and that photo is such a fun way to express that!
Heather :) :) :) On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:16 am
OH, congratulations to the winner and all the finalists. These photos are all so breathtakingly beautiful and interesting ;) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California,Heather :)
Shelli On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:17 am
I never would have been able to narrow it down to the finalists, much less pick just one! This was my favorite contest and so many of the submitted photos were touching and emotionally real. Great job!!
Betty On Tuesday, June 19 at 11:20 am
I truly loved that one the first time I saw it. Good choice!
rhonda On Tuesday, June 19 at 12:10 pm
You did good. :) All of the pictures are sooooooo wonderful!!
Alice On Tuesday, June 19 at 12:50 pm
A most beautiful photo. It was my favorite. So glad it won. Thanks for sponsoring these contests so we can see the talent out there.
Shelly On Tuesday, June 19 at 1:01 pm
There were so many beautiful photos submitted on this assignment. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them all. My eyes welled up on several of them. So moving and loving…. The winning photo is totally awesome!!! There is something about hand photos that move me. And that one is over the top! Thank you!!
Donna S On Tuesday, June 19 at 1:20 pm
I am so glad that one was the winner. They were all good, but there was just something about the winner’s pic that I love!
Kendra On Tuesday, June 19 at 2:01 pm
Every time I look at the photo of the dad welling up with his daughter on her wedding day, I can’t help but get tears in my eyes. It captures the emotion so perfectly. I also love the winning photo! We should all be so lucky… ;)
Kendra On Tuesday, June 19 at 3:28 pm
Oh Ree – your winning photo caught my eye the first time I saw it and was hoping it would win. It truly does show what true love is. Without saying a word, those hands told many stories of struggle, happiness and togetherness. Thanks for sharing these!
Robin in New Jersey On Tuesday, June 19 at 3:54 pm
That was my pick!
Congrats to the winner!
Jan On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:01 pm
Yippee! You chose my favorite. Just loved that one.
country@heart On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:29 pm
Wow Ree! Fantastic contest and submissions; just goes to show with techie stuff, you can do just about anything too!
Loved your choice for winner, don’t know the story, but can imagine those hands (and hearts) have just about seen it all, yet the clasp of their hands says it all!
patimk On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:35 pm
Jo-Anne On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:43 pm
What a great photo and deserves to be the winner and the rest of the finalists are also just awesome
Anne T On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:53 pm
Loved all the photos, but the final winner was the only one that I cried when viewing. Congratulations to all those talented people who submitted photos!
Susanna Grace On Tuesday, June 19 at 4:55 pm
Truly inspiring photos, all. Love the winning photo so much – for the same reasons stated…no airbrushing. All the raw beauty of real love.
Elizabeth On Tuesday, June 19 at 5:05 pm
Great photos! This was a great assignment.
Amy McClure On Tuesday, June 19 at 5:38 pm
Yay! This was immediately my favorite when I first saw it! All of the entries were beautiful expressions of LOVE.
Congratulations to all involved! :)
Deb A On Tuesday, June 19 at 6:01 pm
I felt the love with all these wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing these moments.
regina m On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:08 pm
Congrats Anne. When I sw this photo . It was a winner to me.
Linda R On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:40 pm
Congratulations to all the winners.
My favorite was by sarahealphotography1, the one of the bride kissing her father’s cheek, and he looking very emotional. Click on the picture and you can link into her website with all the photos from the wedding. Beautiful pictures and well worth a look to see the story.
Kim On Tuesday, June 19 at 7:57 pm
All are lovely, but you picked the best.
Buster's mom On Tuesday, June 19 at 9:38 pm
Congratulations! All of them were beautiful in their own way. We’ve only been married 27 years but hoping to be like that – still holding hands. I do have to say though, the one with the father/daughter (wedding) was my favorite … i cried. It brought/brings back so many memories. Thanks for including it.
Denise in VA On Tuesday, June 19 at 9:40 pm
I love these contests, but this one really touched us all. I also chose the ‘hands’ photo. Lifelong love is the most inspiring.
Can we somehow make sure that couple knows how many lives they have touched?
AGinTO On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:04 pm
I love all of these! congrats winners!
Shari E On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:26 pm
I agree with you too. This tells the tell of many years together. I like the others too, but this one says it all.
Shannon On Wednesday, June 20 at 5:35 am
Love the winning photo. It just pulls at my heart strings. Did she know these people? Perhaps they are her grandparents, or parents, or maybe just a loving couple out and about? I would love to have this framed and hanging in my house, I love it that much! Seriously:)
Dawn Britt On Wednesday, June 20 at 6:54 am
Oh Ree, I’m thrilled that you choose the perfect picture. It made me cry and I was praying that you would chose that one and for all the reasons you listed………it was a real winner!
anniebluesky took a beautiful picture! God Bless all the men and woman that make it to this point in their lives and still love each other dearly. Woohoo!!!!
pat in Texas On Wednesday, June 20 at 9:20 am
This is a beautiful picture….Congratulations to the winner….. I would love to see the faces that go with these hands, but then again I can put faces to these hands of people I know or have known. You picked a good one, Ree…. And thanks to all who submitted pictures, it was great fun looking at them all….
Kelly On Wednesday, June 20 at 10:32 am
Sooo happy this shot won! I loved it from the moment I saw it, so special!! Congratulations to the winner!
Melanie Legault On Wednesday, June 20 at 11:46 am
So happy for the winner! It was always my favorite. Actually, I loved all the photos! What a wonderful collection of love and emotion. Makes me love photography even more.
anniebluesky On Thursday, June 21 at 5:31 am
Thanks everyone! I am beyond thrilled. As a matter of fact, thrilled doesn’t even touch how I feel! I loved all the pictures. I truly did not expect to win.
About the couple. I know absolutely nothing about them. I saw them strolling hand in hand at the farmer’s market in St. Augustine, FL. It was a crisp January Saturday morning. Everything was easy and quiet. They were obviously enjoying the morning and being together on such a beautiful day.
For those that like techie details, I used my 85 f/1.4 AIS…a vintage Nikon lens and my D40. They both have served me well. But, I have a feeling a new camera is in my near future!!!! I LOVE my D40, but it is getting pretty old. So maybe it’s time to get a new camera and use it as a backup.
Thanks, Ree for hosting such fun contests. I really don’t know how you can ever pick…

Teri On Thursday, July 5 at 3:42 pm
Really, really beautiful. I have named them Sam and Grace. hahahaa
House of Light On Thursday, June 21 at 6:57 pm
Love always beautiful…