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Skaneateles' Whiting in focus

This time it's the lovely Diana in the spotlight.

Skaneateles photographer Diana Whiting, received the 2007 Michael Fawcett Prize for Visual Arts in connection with the launch of Syracuse University's new art journal, "The Stone Canoe."

"I feel so fortunate to have something I'm so passionate about photography)," Whiting said. "To be recognized for it, is icing on the cake. Not only is it another creative outlet, I'm also learning something all the time and I'm never bored. I love all kinds of photography, including people, but nature is where I've honed my skills. The challenge is to find ways to keep things fresh and find your own style."

The winner is chosen by the editors, and based on at least three pieces of work. "The Stone Canoe" annual is subtitled "Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York," and it showcases the impressive range of artistic activity in the upstate region. The title comes from the ancient Native American story of the peacemaker, who traveled from Lake Ontario to the Fingerlakes to bring the message of peace to warring tribes and to found the Haudenosaunee Confederacy on the shores of Onondaga Lake. The power of his message was strengthened by the ability to travel in a stone canoe.

Whiting has four black and white pictures included in this issue - one titled "Sunflower." She received $500 and a replica of the original stone canoe carving by Native American artist Tom Huff.

"Some photos might be preconceived as is the "Sunflower." I knew what I wanted and was able to pick one that was not yet open," Whiting said. "I shot a series as it unfolded using light from a window. The surprise was that I liked it better in black and white!"

She has been photographing since 1994. She owns and operates "Headquarters Unisex Hair Design" on Genesee Street in Skaneateles, where she resides with her husband Joe.

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