Sure, we’ve all seen photographers work, and maybe we’ve even heard them speak about their work, but how often do we get to see them boogie?

Ghada Khunji, the grand-prize winner of American Photo’s Images of the Year Competition, proved she knows how to shake it last Thursday at a party to celebrate the winners, held at Splashlight Studios in Manhattan.

She and fellow winners Andrea Huber, Aaron Hawks, and Ted Sabarese took to the dance floor shortly after Microsoft’s Tim Grey named Khunji the grand prize winner for her black and white documentary series on an evangelical congregation in Virginia.

Khunji and the others had plenty to celebrate. Khunji received a prize package provided by Microsoft worth more than $15,000, including a Dell Precision 390 Desktop computer, Wacom Intous 6×8 tablet, Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop CS2 Premiere, Epson Stylus Photo 2400 printer, X-Rite Pulse color calibration system, and two 300GB Maxtor external hard drives. Samsung provided a Samsung LN-S 4051 40″ HDTV, a Samsung GX-1S DSLR with 18-55mm lens and a 50-200mm lens, Flash and a pocketable NV7.

Samsung also gave each category winner a Samsung Pro815 camera, and Lightcrafts gave each of the winners the company’s newest digital image editing tool, Lightzone 2.0.

Khunji also won this year’s IPA’s Discovery of the Year Award for her black-and-white series from the Dominican Republic. Those who got to the party early saw a large banner bearing the sponsors’ names. During a brief awards ceremony, two models working for Samsung unfurled the banner to reveal Khunji as the grand-prize winner.
Throughout the night partygoers inspected Epson 3800 prints of the winning photographs that ringed the studio walls, and a crowd of several hundred took in the atmosphere while drinking Bacardi rum cocktails and shaking it on the dance floor.

Many of the photographers got a thrill from seeing their work on display, too, and almost all were impressed with the prints both on the wall and in the magazine. Be sure to check out their stories and images in American Photo’s January/February issue, on newsstands now, and online.
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