Nelson Star reporter/photographer Megan Cole’s memorable image of the Occupy Nelson movement has been recognized as one of the best community newspaper photos of 2011.
The British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association announced its finalists for the Ma Murray 2012 Community Newspapers Awards on Wednesday and Cole’s November 2 front page image has made the top-three for spot news photos.
“The group was gathering for the Zombie Walk,” Cole says of the event that was staged in front of City Hall and proceeded through the downtown on a crisp Friday afternoon. “There were kids and people around with their signs… I was just trying to capture the moment where they were about to take to the streets.”
Of the dozens of photos Cole took that afternoon, the one of a woman holding a “CHANGE” sign and done up in haunting zombie make-up emerged as an unforgettable look into the scene.
“I liked the sign she had and the look on her face… that
kind of captured it,” says Cole.
“She seemed to represent what they were doing the best and the feeling in that moment.”
Due to the frenzy of the afternoon, Cole didn’t think much about the photo until she retreated back to the Star newsroom.
“It stood out when I got back to the office,” she says. “I like when you catch those moments where they don’t see the camera. She was involved in what was going on around her and I caught her in that moment.”
Cole, 26, arrived to the Nelson Star this past July from the Fernie Free Press where she had been working the seven months prior. The Langara Community College graduate, who originally hails from Victoria, also worked for CBC radio for three months before heading to the Kootenays.
The newspaper association received 1,800 entries for this year’s awards in a number of different categories. Cole’s photo will be going up against spot news pictures from Percy N. Hebert of the Cariboo Observer (Quesnel) and Mike Thomas of the Yukon News.
The awards ceremony takes place at the River Rock Casino in Richmond on April 14.