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Kayla Duyck was notified that a photo she took at a friend's house was selected for display in Amsterdam.

STAFF PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Kayla Duyck, pictured together with some of her favorite prints, will have one of her photographs displayed at an international exhibition for the first time this weekend, in Amsterdam.If you spend much time in Banks, chances are good you've crossed paths with Kayla Duyck.

Duyck is a familiar face at Jim's Thriftway and the Banks Liquor Store, working full-time in retail. But it's her photography that will be sending Duyck halfway around the world this weekend, as she travels to Amsterdam to attend the first official exhibition of her work.

Along with 599 photographers from around the world, Duyck had her work — a picture that she took on a friend's property last fall — selected by voters to be exhibited at the Qlick gallery in the Netherlands by GuruShots.

"It's a digital (exhibition), but I'm like, 'Hey, that's a stepping stone,'" Duyck said. "It's really cool to have something that you find really neat and beautiful and everything, and then have other people reciprocate that same feeling."

Duyck has already come a long way as a photographer since she started D&A Photography about nine years ago.

"It started off as a joke," Duyck said. "I did my brother's senior pictures, because when I had my senior pictures done, I paid $160 and I got nine pictures back, and in, like, three or four of them, I just did not look at all comfortable."

She explained, "I'm the second of seven kids, so we paid for our own senior pictures, and not all of my siblings had jobs by the time they were seniors. … I didn't know it would actually take off, but people started asking Jeremy, 'Hey, where'd you get your senior pictures done?' And he was like, 'Kayla did them.'"

Everything went from there, Duyck said. Along with taking professional photos of people and events, in the Banks community, Duyck has become known for the postcards and calendars she produces from her photos.

"More and more of my coworkers were like, 'Well, we need postcards out here in Banks,'" Duyck said. "Because we didn't have any postcards in the store, and all the ones you get are generic — they say 'Oregon,' and they have, like, the (sea lion) — which, they're all cute, don't get me wrong, but they're like, 'We need Banks things more. We need something to set us apart.'"

COURTESY PHOTO: KAYLA DUYCK - This photograph by Kayla Duyck of a friend's old tire swing in November was voted into the digital portion of a GuruShots exhibition in Amsterdam by photographers from around the world.Duyck likes to take at least one trip every year where she can have fun and take lots of interesting pictures. But most of her photography is done locally, she said.

"I did my first calendar, which I called 'The World to Me,' because it's all of Banks and Forest Grove area, the place where I grew up, because I've been out here for 30 years," she said. "And it was just beautiful things that I saw just around our area and everything."

Duyck is especially fond of photographing subjects that seem almost out of time — crumbling old houses, or vintage trucks. But she doesn't tie herself to any particular type or even style of photography.

"I try to find something that will remind me: 'Oh yeah, I know what I was doing that day,'" Duyck said, looking over a sampling of some of her favorite photos from over the years, ones of which she has made mounted prints. "It's just things that can bring you back to memory. Because honestly, my motto is 'it's not about the pictures that I take, but rather the memories they make.' And that's what all of these are. They're all memories."

She sees the work she does on contract the same way.

"Really, it's all about capturing memories for people and being able to have them have a good time," Duyck said. "That's my main goal."

Duyck wasn't looking for anything in particular when she agreed to house-sit for a friend last fall. She likes taking pictures of people's pets, she said, and she appreciates visually interesting landscapes. But she didn't have a camera with her when she happened upon the scene that caught her interest — except for the one in her Samsung smartphone.

"The tire swing's just hanging in the backyard," Duyck said. "It was kind of just one of those I-saw-it-and-it-happened kind of things. … I took the picture because I saw it, and that's kind of how a lot of mine come about."

She added, "I was out walking her dog around the house and everything, and taking care of him. And yeah, it just was there, and I was like, 'OK, take a picture.' And it just turned out really cool."

The online photography community that reviewed submissions in the GuruShots photo contest she entered this spring evidently agreed. Duyck said she found out July 4 that her smartphone shot of the tire swing, solitary against a background of orange-and-brown fallen leaves, a filbert orchard, and a November-gray blanket of fog, had been selected for the digital display.

"At first, I didn't even think I was going to be able to go, to go see it," Duyck said. "And some friends of mine, they're like, 'No. You're going. We're going to make this happen.' And so they helped me out."

GuruShots describes itself on its website as "the world's #1 photography game." It challenges members to take photos and submit them for fellow photographers to review and vote on. Several times per year, it holds exhibitions at venues around the world — mostly in Europe — to display the most popular photos from various "challenges."

This month's exhibition in Amsterdam runs from Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5.

"My parents, when I first started doing (D&A Photography), I got my first save-the-date card from the couple that I did their engagement pictures, and my mom's like, 'Oh, honey, I'm so proud of you. I'm so excited for you.' And my dad's like, 'It's one save-the-date card.' He's like, 'You need to calm down,'" Duyck laughed. "Now that I've done more of this, when I told him about the contest ... he's like, 'Honey, that's awesome.' And I'm like, 'Right?' … He's getting excited, too."

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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