Forever Changing

Photography by Kelly Avenson.

Kelly Avenson, photography judge of The Hal Prize (with fellow photographer Len Villano), thrives on capturing moments with her subjects – whether children, wedding parties, or families – she strives to bring out personality and beauty.

Along with specializing in real life and portraiture photography, Avenson owns and shows her work at Avenson Photography (located on Third Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay), next door to Greco Gallery “an artistic boutique,” which also showcases her work.

Just days before the deadline of The Hal Prize (June 27), Avenson spoke with Sally Slattery about her path to becoming a photographer, what makes a good photograph, and her advice to aspiring photographers.

Sally Slattery (SS): When did you know you were a photographer?

Kelly Avenson (KA): Well, when I first got grounded as an 8-year-old due to the fact I ‘borrowed’ my sister’s 110 film camera and used the whole roll of film and the flash cube. There was something about that flat little rectangle box in my hand and watching those flashes go off, it captivated me.

It wasn’t the last time I ‘borrowed’ her camera, eventually it became mine.

SS: Did anyone in particular influence you passion for photography?

KA: Not that I can really recall, I just have always loved people of all ages, sex, nationality and getting to know them and I think photography has always been a way to start that conversation.

SS: What are your favorite subjects?

Photography by Kelly Avenson.

KA: People in their natural environment, work or at home or a special place for them.

SS: How has your work changed over the years?

KA: It is forever changing, as I grow as a person my photography grows and changes with me. It has morphed from me just capturing my adolescence (my friends and all our crazy adventures) to capturing moments in time for newspapers and magazines to capturing all those special moments in peoples lives such as soon-to-be-high school seniors, weddings and even child birth.

SS: What, in your opinion, makes a good photo?

KA: The photographs that stop me and grab my attention are those that capture an emotion, a mood, a feeling or the essence or personality of an individual or landscape. Lighting plays a key role in that.

SS: What is your advice to photographers submitting to The Hal Prize?

KA: To be proud of yourself. The fact that you are shooting and pursuing a passion that captures a moment in time forever, to me is something pretty special. You never know, your image may someday help tell a story that may have otherwise been forgotten. So keep shooting.

For more information about Avenson and her photography, visit

To submit to The Hal Prize, visit