Local photographer finalist for cover search

PARKERSBURG – A photograph by a Parkersburg man is among the four finalists for the cover of the June special issue of “Wonderful West Virginia” magazine commemorating the state’s sesquicentennial.

Roger Davis, who lives near Blennerhassett School, shot the photo of his two grandchildren as part of the “Day in the Life of West Virginia” project by the magazine published by the Department of Natural Resources.

Residents were asked to take a photo on Sept. 15 and submit them to the magazine, where four entries were chosen by staff as the finalists to be voted upon online for the cover until March 8.

“I’m pretty excited,” Roger Davis said. “The thought of seeing my grandkids on the front cover of a magazine.”

The photo of Lyla Davis, 3, daughter of Mathew Davis of Washington, W.Va., and Angie Davis of Parkersburg, and her cousin Andrew Davis, 2, son of Bradley and Alisha Davis, also of Washington.

Davis and his wife, Julie, took the grandkids to Butcher Farm near DuPont on West Virginia 892. The farm affords numerous backdrops for photos, even a trebuchet to fling pumpkins, Mrs. Davis said.

Many wedding photos are taken there. “It’s such a fun place to take little kids,” she said.

They asked their grandkids to sit on the big chair and Davis snapped about eight photos, picking the best one and cropping it for magazine format.

They were unaware the photo was chosen as one of the four finalists.

“We had no idea were were in,” she said.

The June issue of “Wonderful West Virginia” will be a celebration of West Virginia’s 150th birthday and will feature dozens of photographs submitted in the “Day in the Life of West Virginia” project.

The public is encouraged to choose a favorite and vote at the newly redesigned “Wonderful West Virginia” website at www.wonderfulwv.com.

The Davises also are encouraging everyone to vote and vote for their photo.

“My wife has,” Davis said.

The other choices are a large flock of chickens in a rural setting, two backpackers with their dog on a trail, and a group of colorful West Virginia-grown vegetables.

The deadline to vote is March 8.

The magazine is not releasing who shot the photographs so the votes are about the quality of the photos, not about who took them, according to Hoy Murphy, a spokesman for the division.

Finalists were chosen from among 5,000 photographs submitted by about 1,000 people who participated in the photographic tribute. Residents were asked to take a photo on Sept. 15 depicting the people, events and places that make the state special.

Davis described himself as a hobbyist. He shoots with a Canon digital camera and edits photos on a computer.

Davis, 50, works for Kraton and his wife, who is 49, is a teacher at Criss Elementary School.

“I’m especially proud of my grandkids,” Davis said. “I think they’re the cutest kids in the world.”

The June issue will be the first all-photograph issue of the magazine in more than 25 years.

The idea started as a photo contest in developing to encourage involvement by the general public, said “Wonderful West Virginia” publisher Bryan Hoffman, chief of administration for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, which publishes the monthly full-color magazine.

“Someone said we had done something similar in the mid-1980s that was very successful. We looked up that issue and decided to go with the ‘Day in the Life of West Virginia’ idea because it was the state’s 150th anniversary,” he said. “We had so many great pictures submitted that we couldn’t decide on just one for the cover, so we’re asking for help from our readers and the public.”