The Hal Epstein Merit Memorial Award was presented to Stephen DiMaria.
To honor the Photography Club of Flagler County’s founder, Hal Epstein the first Hal Epstein Merit Memorial Award was presented to Flagler Palm Coast High School senior Stephen DiMaria.
“We established this award in memory of [Epstein], as well as give back to the community and encourage a student of photography to continue studies and hopefully maybe become a professional photographer,” said Joseph Zaia, a founding member of the photography club.
The award was presented to DiMaria on Wednesday, April 17, at the Flagler County Art League, with members of the club present, as well as DiMaria’s family and FPC graphic design teacher Ed Beckett.
DiMaria said he was thankful to earn the framed certificate of recognition and $300, courtesy of the club.
Having recently won First of Show at the Flagler County Art League’s spring show, DiMaria has impressed many local photographers, including Zaia, who said DiMaria’s work really stands out.
DiMaria’s work mostly consists of portraits. He uses a Canon Rebel T5, lighting equipment he borrows from his uncle and a black bed sheet to transform his home into a studio. He said he wants to evoke emotions from viewers with powerful images.
“I just work very hard on every single picture that I do,” DiMaria said. “Even if I don’t have the best equipment or the best camera, I made do with what I have, and I’m proud of what I’ve put out so far.”
He said he wants to challenge himself to do more outdoor portraits and landscape photos — to step out of his comfort zone of controlled-lighting photo shoots.
DiMaria plans to earn an associate’s degree in photographic technology from Daytona State College. He submitted a portfolio of work and letter of intentions to the club to be chosen as the award recipient.
“To inspire young people to continue with their joy of photography is very rewarding,” Zaia said.