Billy Dzwonkowski never met Paul Bartley but wishes he had.
Bartley would’ve felt likewise.
“I’d always heard good things about him,” Dzwonkowski, 21, said of the beloved Bradenton Herald photographer and community leader who died Sept. 19 at the age of 84. “The fact he was a people person, always looking to help others, not just a great photographer.”
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A pretty good photographer in his own right, Dzwonkowski (pronounced Dee-wahn-COW-ski) is the first recipient of the Paul Bartley Memorial Award, given by the Manatee County Fair Arts and Crafts Department.
It is a special award for photography chosen by the judges in honor of a man who was a fixture at the fair capturing its many ribbon winners.
“I’m lucky and I’m honored,” Dzwonkowski said.
The Manatee Community College student and Al Gordon Photography intern received the award for his portrait of Bayshore High senior Kellyjo Starcher on a porch swing at Manatee Historical Village.
The 2006 Manatee High graduate won a blue rosette and two blue ribbons, as well.
“It’s nice to be acknowledged as a good photographer, but it’s even better to be acknowledged as a good photographer and a great person,” Dzwonkowski said of the Bartley Award. “He was able to connect with people, and you can see it in his work. I’d love to have people say that about mine.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@ bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification