Photo above: Beaufort Water Festival bed racers get a face full of water from an unidentified assailant during the annual Water Festival Bed Races.
Photographs are often called the window to the soul. Being able to capture a range of emotions, environments and events takes patience and timing and knowledge about the community — skills longtime photojournalist Bob Sofaly has perfected.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism in 1980, Sofaly went to work at The Beaufort Gazette until his retirement as photo editor in 2011.
Sofaly has received local, state and regional awards in photography during his 36-plus years as a photojournalist in Beaufort.
“I didn’t think there was that much news to cover in Beaufort,” Sofaly said of the early days. “The first year I took second and third place and an honorable mention in the ‘spot news’ category from the S.C. Press Association.”
Shortly after leaving the Gazette he began working for The Island News as a contract photographer and won three more awards with the SCPA.
Sofaly’s more notable awards include Photo of the Year in 1999 from the SCPA and three separate Mark Twain awards for spot news coverage from the Associated Press.
Since those early days, Sofaly has won nearly 30 awards for his news, sports and feature photography.
Sofaly and his wife of 40 years, Sheila, have lived in Shell Point for more than 33 years.
“I don’t see us leaving anytime soon,” he said.
Here is a look at some of Sofaly’s best photos for The Island News from 2016.