Photojournalist Arianna Grainey, a Queen Creek resident, took first place in “Shoot Like Shirley,” a contest for sports photography shot by women under the age of 30.
Grainey serves is a freelance photographer for a number of Independent publications and the Daily Independent at YourValley.net.
In her submission, Grainey included 10 sports photos from around the Valley of the Sun that range from spring training at Scottsdale Stadium, to the Lost Dutchman Days rodeo in Apache Junction, to athlete portraits.
Grainey says on the morning of July 1, she was running late, headed out the door to shoot an assignment when an email titled “Shoot Like Shirley 2021 Winner” pinged her phone.
“I was speechless,” Grainey said. “I just stared at the email headline for a few seconds before even opening the email — my hand just hovered there. I was super excited and honored to be picked. The contest is in memory of Shirley Pefley, who passed away in March of 2017 after a battle with breast cancer. 2018 was the inaugural year so I am the fourth winner. I hope that I can honor her memory.”
Grainey’s previous achievements include being named Photographer of the Year by the Arizona Newspaper Association (2016, 2018) and Arizona Press Club (2019).
This contest was particularly special to Grainey, who is passionate about excelling in a historically male-dominated profession.
“The fact that Shirley’s family put this together specifically for young women is just incredible. Women are still a small minority in the sports photojournalism world,” Grainey said. “A part of the prize package is attending Sports Shooter Academy over in LA. I have always wanted to attend but for various reasons have never made it. In 2021, they made the academy virtual due to COVID-19, and I was able to attend this year. Now, I get to attend in person when the conference comes back in person.”
Grainey is a graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.