Spot News Photography (under 25,000 circulation)


Winner: Clifford Skarstedt, Peterborough Examiner

When Peterborough Police Chief Scott Gilbert waded into the heart of an anti-lockdown protest and gave MPP Randy Hillier a ticket under the Reopening Ontario Act, Clifford Skarstedt conceptualized the shot perfectly; Gilbert and Hiller at the tense epicentre of the scene, surrounded by phone-wielding onlookers. The result is Canada’s COVID schism in miniature; we see it in Gilbert’s weary eyes above his mask, as well as Hillier’s pointed finger and open mouth, mid-rant. Skarstedt is tight on the action in this quintessential breaking news photograph where the main actors stand in for so many others.

Peterborough police Chief Scott Gilbert is confronted by Independent MPP Randy Hillier, who was issued a ticket under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) in relation to the anti-lockdown protest at Confederation Square on April 24, 2021. Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner

Runner-up: Brian Thompson, Brantford Expositor

The photographer’s humanity and empathy are evident in the framing of this wrenching picture. Brian Thomson waited at a respectful distance as a family approached a devastating memorial at the Woodland Cultural Centre; when the mother and child leaned into each other, he captured the moment. It’s impossible not to linger on the children’s stances, to sweep across the shoes and the stuffed animals and consider the depth of pain captured here with a heavy heart.

Janet Gasparelli, a Six Nations band member living in Hamilton, and her daughters Angela, left, 8, and Rudi, 5, pause to reflect in front of the Mohawk Institute in Brantford on Sept. 30, 2021. Footwear, children’s toys and messages of hope cover the steps of the former residential school. Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor


Runner-up: Luke Hendry, Belleville Intelligencer

This building-on-fire photograph may be a staple of local newspapering, but Luke Hendry has executed it at a high level. Hendry got to the scene with the fire still raging, found the angle in a neighbouring backyard and captured the uneasy helplessness of the firefighters from behind, telling the whole story in one impressive photograph.

Firefighters watch as an aerial hose sprays water on the Tweedsmuir Tavern on March 10, 2021, in Tweed. Built in 1886, it had been a hotel, restaurant, bar, and music venue. Much of the landmark building collapsed; the rest was later demolished. Luke Hendry/Belleville Intelligencer


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2021 ONAs: Spot News Photography (under 25,000 circulation)