Stop Looking and Start Seeing
Dawn Benko is an award winning photographer based in Northwestern New Jersey. Her passion for capturing "the moment" has seen her through an A.S. degree in photographic technology at Florida Institute of Technology and a twenty-seven-year photojournalism career in her native New Jersey. In 2007, she began in earnest to pursue her true passion—nature and wildlife photography.
"The highest compliment to me," says Dawn, "is for someone to say, 'Your photography is like nothing I've seen before,' because that's what I'm trying to accomplish with every photo. I've seen a million photos of grand mountain scenes and sweeping landscapes. What I try to do is to bring the audience in closer to see the beautiful things that make up that scene. A friend of mine likes to call them vignettes, and I think that describes it perfectly."
Dawn has driven a 15-passenger storm chasing van thousands of miles across the Midwest, chronicling tornadoes and violent thunderstorms. She has taken her camera 250 feet under the earth, to photograph a New York State caving expedition in complete darkness and up into the mountains of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where she took pictures while dangling from a rock-climbing rope. In 2009 she fulfilled a lifelong dream, taking a hiking and camping trip to Tanzania.
Dawn has exhibited her work in juried art shows across the country. In addition to her many photo journalism awards, she won a first place award in the 20th Annual Louisville National Juried Photography Show for her fine art photograph "Icescape" and had two photos chosen as semifinalists in EarthShare New Jersey's Second Annual NJ Nature Photography Contest and Exhibition. She has also won multiple awards in Light, Space, Time's monthly art competitions.
Dawn is a member of the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council and a full member and working artist at the ARTery in Milford, PA.