A stunning photo of Buckskin Gulch near Kanab, taken by Mattalynn Mason of St. George, Utah, took first prize in Bank of Utah’s 2021 “My Utah” photo contest. While the photo itself is inspiring, Mason’s one-day, 20-mile journey through the scenic slot canyon is even more moving, as it commemorated her first year of cancer remission.
Mason, who works as a dental hygienist and freelance photographer, received a $500 first prize and her breathtaking photo is being featured on several electronic billboards and in other Bank of Utah advertising, on social media platforms and the bank’s web site. The winners were selected from a pool of nearly 100 entries.
“After beating cancer in 2020, I couldn’t wait to get out and hike Buckskin. It’s one of the longest slot canyons in the world, and to me, the most beautiful. After I opened the email from Bank of Utah, I was freaking out and my husband came in and was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was so amazing to win, but it meant even more to me that I won with that photo since it captures a milestone in my life.” –Mattalynn Mason
Mason’s photo shows her, after her long, victorious journey, staring down the shaded red rock-lined slot into an area with a patch of beaming sunlight. Electronic billboards with the winning photo can be seen along the I-15 corridor from Ogden to St. George.
The second-place winning photo, featuring a view of Capitol Reef, was taken by Rachel Ross of Salt Lake, who received $300 for her work. Marc Vatsend of West Valley received $200 as the third-place winner, for his photo featuring another perspective on Capitol Reef. These and other photos submitted in the “My Utah” contest may be featured in other Bank of Utah advertising in upcoming months, including a 2022 wall calendar.
“This is the second year we’ve held the ‘My Utah’ photo contest, and for the second year, we were incredibly impressed by the images submitted by our customers and friends,” said Douglas L. DeFries, Bank of Utah president and CEO. “It is our privilege to share these beautiful photos taken by talented people from communities across our state. We plan to make this a yearly tradition.”