Fran Achen Photo Competition

Best of Show
Jeff McDonald : Touch the Sky

1st Place : Everett Long : Pelican and Patterns
2nd Place : James Meldrum : Solitary
3rd Place : Heather Browning : Abandoned Ship

Honorable Mentions:
William Eklund : See Both Sides
Jim Marsala : End of Summer
Jeff McDonald : River Walk
James Meldrum : Winter Calm

1st Place : Robert Buell : Autumn in Vermont
2nd Place : Sylvia Linton : Milkweed in Flight
3rd Place : Jessica Osorio : Dancing in the Violets

Honorable Mention:
Robert Buell : Fall Sumac
Rhonda Kolander : Maddona and Child
Sandy Ott : Gracie
Johnathon Stutzman : Camouflaged Owl
Judy Wildermuth : End of Day

1st Place : Aydon Clikeman : Glacier
2nd Place : Aydon Clikeman : Songbird
3rd Place : Aydon Clikeman : Jenna

Viewers' Choice Award
The Viewers' Choice Award will be announced on the last day of the show after all the votes are counted.

Fran Achen
1916 - 2004

The Whitewater Arts Alliance honors Fran Achen's contribution to Whitewater by sponsoring the Annual Fran Achen Photography Competition and Show.

Fran Achen was a longtime Whitewater resident, teacher, and local photographer. He is most remembered for his photographic collection which chronicles the history of Whitewater.

Born in Kenosha in 1916, his interest in photography began after high school. He spent almost two years delivering cars for the Nash automobile factory. "It seemed like such fun to explore America, so that started my interest in photography and geography, which became my major in college," he said.

In 1938, when Fran enrolled at Whitewater State Teachers College, it was the first year enrollment went over one thousand. Fran remembered being the last one to register, making the enrollment that year 1,008 students. While an undergraduate student at the college, he served as a photographer for both the Royal Purple and the former Minneiska yearbook, as well as working as a freelance photographer for the Janesville Gazette, making "a buck a picture" which helped to pay his way through school.

While attending college, Fran met his wife, Lydia. They were married for 55 years and had three children - Chap, Randi, and Jim.

After graduating from college Achen taught social studies for a year before being called up for military service in World War II. Achen served almost four years as the commanding officer of an entirely African American medical unit whose primary duty was to recover wounded soldiers from the front lines. Achen recalled years later that the Rhineland and Central Europe campaign was very successful and remembered crossing the Rhine River just two days after its capture.

When the war was over he pursued his interest in photography by working in a studio in Madison, and later by purchasing a photography studio in downtown Whitewater, where he worked for 11 years.

In 1956, after selling the studio, Achen continued to serve the community as a teacher at Whitewater High School where he taught his favorite subject, geography. He later became assistant audio-visual director for the Janesville school system. Achen retired in 1979. However, he never retired his camera. He continued to photograph the life and events in and around the Whitewater area.

In the 1980s Achen donated nearly 400 custom printed and mounted photographs to the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library. The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater also has an extensive collection of Fran's photos. Although his photo taking slowed down in his later years, Achen said he was never afraid to flip the shutter on what he believed could be a lasting memory or a special photograph.