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The Winning Pictures from FOTO's Fourth of July Contest

FOTO's first photography contest — which focused on July Fourth — went off with a bang. We received some 600 submissions with an incredible number of truly excellent pictures that often captured familiar aspects of the holiday (Fireworks! Flags! Food!), but with a thoughtful twist.

Today we are excited to announce the four winners of our contest, each of whom will receive a framed print from Photos.com. You can view the winning photos below, along with a selection of images from the finalists.

Thanks to all who entered, and a special thanks to our judges Brandon Ruffin, Leah Frances, and Lisa Guerriero each of whom brought their keen eye and unique perspective to the task; Bill Shapiro, FOTO's editor-in-chief, also judged.

There are more photo contests to come; be sure to sign up for our newsletter, and we'll keep you informed.


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Photo by @bryanregan

"This photo really captures the unabashed love that this man has for his country. I admire everything about this photograph, especially Bryan's use of color, and how he carefully places the flag on the right side of the photo to frame the image. The strong flash and the expression of the subject's face give me a sense of how passionate and serious this man is about the meaning of the Fourth of July. Overall, a visually striking image that gives the viewer a strong sense of emotion."
— Lisa Guerriero   (@analogstreets)

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Photo by @elzabouhassira

"For much of America, the Fourth is not only about fireworks, but also about being together, and this picture perfectly captures both. Who are these people? Presented as they are in silhouette, it's anyone guess and, frankly, it doesn't matter: They are us. I love how one couple is close together, and the other is sort of keeping their distance; it feels like there's a story there, and I want to know more."
— Bill Shapiro  (@billshapiro)

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Photo by @wednesdaythrufriday

"This photograph drew me in for a few reasons. It spoke to me about excess and American over-the-topness, and instantly reminded me of Martin Parr’s work. But what I really loved was the crop and composition. All of that exuberance — the flags, rings, bracelets, and bangles — is barely contained within this tight point of view. It’s almost as though the image is a firecracker, about to explode out of the frame. It was a striking and unusual way of conveying the excitement and energy behind the holiday."
— Leah Frances   (@americansquares)

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Photo by @jmacneillphoto

"I really enjoyed this photo. Often, events seen through the eyes of a child seem larger then life — and this photograph captures that well. There is instantly a sense of the 4th of July when you see this image: The colors were well selected, composition was well thought out, and the silhouette provides perspective and depth while also furthering the concept that the child is our important figure in this scene...this is his 4th of July."

— Brandon Ruffin   (@ruffdraft)


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Photo by @anniebdw

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Photo by @blueamberphoto

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Photo by @mostetler

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Photo by @sincerely_nadira

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Photo by @wayneogrant

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Photo by @rosiedreadful

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Photo by @bryanregan

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Photo by @wayneogrant


Photo by @kristian.l.i


Photo by @sean.duan


Photo by @swanson.wayne

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Photo by @anniebdw

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Photo by @benjamaticautomatic

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Photo by @dccitygirl

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Photo by @ashleighcoleman

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Photo by @amy_lizbeth_u

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Photo by @wagesoffear

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Photo by @jamesandkarla

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Photo by @rickona49


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Photo by @emencher


BRANDON RUFFIN   (@ruffdraft)
An Oakland-based photographer, filmmaker, and writer who specializes in portrait photography, with a focus on the African-American community in Oakland.

LEAH FRANCES   (@americansquares)
A New York City-based photographer whose American Squares page captures “the lovely and lovable world which quietly persists..."

LISA GUERRIERO   (@analogstreets)
A Los Angeles-based documentary photographer whose work focuses on social documentary, subculture, and life in small-town America.

BILL SHAPIRO  (@billshapiro)
The editor of FOTO and the former editor-in-chief of LIFE magazine.

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