Photo Contest Showcases the Richness of Aging Well in America

By: Armando Trull, Media Relations Manager,

Winners chosen for their artistic and dignified portraits of older adults

Arlington, VA, June 16, 2020 — For its 2020 Age+Action Virtual Conference, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) invited photographers and artists from around the country to submit work exploring the artistic expression of Aging Well for All—how older adults are making the most of their longevity. “The winning entries beautifully showcase the richness of aging well in America,” said Ken Bracht, NCOA Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “The judges were amazed by the quality of all submissions—totaling more than 1,000 images—from both award-winning professionals and self-taught photographers.” The winning photographs and artists were announced at NCOA’s 2020 Age+Action Virtual Conference, June 8-11, the first national gathering of aging services professionals in the COVID-19 era. The 4-day online event featured 150+ speakers and 100+ sessions designed to help community-based organizations better serve older adults. First Place went to A Loving Touch, submitted by Allan Mestel of Longboat Key, FL. The black-and-white photo features an older interracial couple in an intimate moment. “The judges chose this photo because of its artistry, poignancy, sensitivity, and dignity,” Bracht said. “I’m stunned I won first place,” Mestel said.

A Loving Touch © Allan Mestel

Second Place was awarded to Grandma Quality Time from Michael Paras of Maplewood, NJ. It’s a Norman Rockwell scene of a wide-eyed toddler and her grandmother enjoying a chocolate shake and each other.

Grandma Quality Time © Michael Paras

The Merit and Honorable Mention awards include photos of older adults of all races and backgrounds.

  • Merit: On The Bench, Mark Coggins; Bread Baker, Michael Paras; Pay Attention, Susan Sidebottom; and Work Out #3, Maria Trunk
  • Honorable Mention: Diane Bernard, Tom Atwood; Time To Go Home, Edward Boches; Hands On Chest, Marna Clarke; At The Park, Judi Iranyi; Memory, Charlotte Niel; One Day Like The Next, Charlotte Niel; Grandmom, Nickolas Nikolic; Ben, Leroy Skalstad; Red Door, John Tiedje; and Portraits Of Dementia, Joe Wallace

Two Honorable Mention artists have created photographic series that spotlight important issues in aging. Tom Atwood’s series Kings & Queens in Their Castles portrays the LGBTQ experience in the U.S. Portraits of Dementia by Joe Wallace features images of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease.

The public is invited to view the complete NCOA online gallery of all selected photographs and artists here:


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