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Whether we’re posting vacation pics to social media or showing friends party snaps on our cells, we’re all photographers these days. Now that there’s a smartphone in every pocket, a laptop in every living room, photography is no longer the distinct preserve of hobbyists, artists, or professionals. In the digital age, it’s a basic mode of communication as widespread as the written word. It has its own syntax, grammar, conventions, and even clichés. That doesn’t diminish photography’s claims to capital-A Art, but being awash in a tidal surge of images every day — whether it’s Instagram shots, Facebook updates, or Reddit posts — does seem to raise the standards a bit. Yesterday’s achingly majestic landscape is today’s earthporn desktop wallpaper is tomorrow’s wry visual placemat for a snarky meme.

Well, I’m happy to say that the winning images in our 2019 “Focus on Nevada” Photo Contest are unilaterally fresh, striking, subtle, thrilling, and provocative. They’re art. This is a credit to the photographers, of course, but Nevada plays a starring role, too — its gleaming cityscapes and star-dusted outlands, its hardy wildlife and vibrant people. Looking over the images again, I’m struck by how so many of the photos render the familiar from new angles and perspectives. It affirms the mission of the contest: To refresh our collective vision of the Silver State. Congratulations to all the winners.

Oh, and congratulations to us: Desert Companion took home three Maggies at the 67th Annual Maggie Awards banquet May 3 in Los Angeles. Desert Companion won two major sweepstakes awards: Best City/Metropolitan Magazine and Best Overall Consumer Magazine. We were also honored for Best Single Editorial Illustration (Kristina Collantes, February 2018). Desert Companion was a finalist in nine categories. It’s a fine testament to an editorial team whose talent and tireless brilliance make Desert Companion what it is.

As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.