Press Release

For Immediate Release

Anietra HamperSATW Communications Manager
Cell: (614) 562-8147 | E-mail:


Awards Presented at Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon

PORTLAND, OREGON (Oct. 30, 2017) – The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) announces the winners of the annual Bill Muster Photo and Phoenix Awards Competitions.

SATW named Lola Akinmade Akerstrom the 2018 Photographer of the Year in the organization’s Bill Muster Photo Competition during its annual convention, taking place now through November 2, 2017, in Portland, Oregon. Michael Snell won the Silver Award, and Alison Wright won the Bronze Award.

The 2017 Bill Muster Photo Competition recognizes outstanding photography in the following categories: Photographer of the Year, Single Subject Portfolio, Action, Animal, Culture, Natural Scenic, People (General) and People (Portrait). Winners were selected from 1,680 entries. Following are the winners in each category:

Single Subject Portfolio: 
Gold – Andrea Johnson, Silver – Gary Cralle, Bronze – Gary Arndt

Gold – Laura Watilo Blake, Silver – Sandra Friend, Bronze – Mark Downey,
Merit Awards – Laura Bly and Kerrick James

Gold – Jenn Smith NelsonSilver – April Orcutt, Bronze – Phil Marty
Merit Award – Michele Burgess

Gold – Art Meripol, Silver – Art MeripolBronze – John Poimiroo
Merit Awards – Susan Portnoy and Roger Toll

Natural Scenic:
Gold – Stan Wawer, Silver – Kerrick James, Bronze – Greg Vaughn,
Merit Awards – Michele Burgess and Doug Stremel

People General: 
Gold – Phil Marty, Silver – Susan Portnoy, Bronze – Eric Lindberg
Merit Award – Gail Mooney-Kelly

People Portrait:
Gold – Carol BarringtonSilver – Susan PortnoyBronze – Susan Portnoy
Merit Awards – Gary Knowles and Donnie Sexton

SATW also announced the winners of the 2017 Phoenix Awards that recognize outstanding conservation and preservation efforts among tourism leaders. The two Phoenix Awards were presented to the Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada and The Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho.

“Excellence doesn’t often come on the first try. It is a process that often involves failing and learning from that failure. That’s what makes these honorees such a source of inspiration: Their passion compels them, and their desire propels them. Thank you for standing up and standing out as examples of excellence,” said SATW President Catharine Hamm.

Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

SATW has honored the finest travel photography with the SATW Bill Muster Photo Competition (formerly the Bill Muster Photo Showcase) since 1981 and recognized tourism conservation projects through the Phoenix Awards since 1969.

SATW’s 1,100 members include: journalists, photographers, editors; bloggers and online content providers; film lecturers, radio, television and film producers; and tourism-industry public relations representatives.

SATW is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) professional association.

SATW, 1 Parkview Plaza, 17W110 22nd St., Suite 800, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
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