Kernel Photo Staff Takes Home Top Honors at KNPA Awards

Photo by Michael Clubb
Photo by Michael Clubb.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2021) — Kentucky Kernel managing editor and photographer Michael Clubb was named Kentucky’s sports photographer of the year and runner-up student photographer of the year at the annual Kentucky News Photographer Association meeting in February 2021.

Clubb earned multiple awards, including Kentucky sports photographer of the year, where his portfolio was judged against professional Kentucky photographers, even though he is still an undergraduate student. 2021 was the first year that student entries were allowed to compete in what has traditionally been a “professional” category, so the win was even more meaningful.

The sports photographer of the year category was open to professional and student portfolios consisting of no more than 10 images taken during the 2020 calendar year. Clubb won the sports photographer of the year, beating out the professionals including staff photographers from the Courier Journal, the Herald-Leader and UK Athletics. 

“It always feels great to receive recognition for your hard work, and the fact that I won sports photographer of the year against students and professionals makes it even more special,” Clubb said.

Clubb was awarded first place in the news picture story category, first place in sport news and first place in general news. Additionally, he swept the sports action category, earning first, second and third place.

“I wouldn’t have made anywhere close the amount of progress I’ve made when it comes to my photography without the help and support of so many, especially from the Kernel. David Stephenson especially, the Kernel’s photo advisor and a UK professor, has always been there to help and teach me and push me to my potential,” Clubb said.

“Michael is an incredibly talented photographer,” Stephenson said. “I’m excited for him that he is recognized at this level for his talent and hard work. We are lucky to have him at the Kernel.”

Several other College of Communication and Information students were recognized at the Kentucky News Photographer Association contest, including Arden Barnes, a 2020 journalism graduate, who won honorable mention in both general news and the sports featured categories.

Jordan Prather, a 2020 journalism graduate won second and third place in the sports action category, and second place in the week’s work category, honoring various photographs taken in a one-week span.

Barnes and Prather earned several awards in the professional category, even though the bulk of their images were taken while they were students.

The Kentucky News Photographer's Association is a nonprofit organization founded to promote and advance photojournalism in practice and ideology in both still and video mediums across the Commonwealth. The KNPA is an accredited member of the National Press Photographer's Association.

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