"Well, my take is completely, of course, different. Because I know my granddaughter. When I saw her laying on the floor, what I saw is I could not believe how beautiful that veil fell around her and no one had touched it to put it that way. I just saw a beautiful picture."
Then, she recalled Project IMAGINAT10N, which she'd learned about on Facebook when it debuted last year. The number 10 in the contest's name signifies the 10 "pillars of storytelling," as described by Howard: setting, time, character, mood, back story, relationship, goal, obstacle, the unknown and discovery.
Last year, more than 100,000 photos were submitted, and the filmmakers used the still photos as inspiration for cinematic stories. "I didn't enter last year. I didn't know if I had anything that was good enough," Vickers said.
But she had grown ever more serious about her photography and is an active member of the Charleston Camera Club. As this year's deadline approached, she figured she had just as good a chance as anyone else out there.
"I was sitting at my computer one day about 5 p.m. and thought 'I'm just going to take some pictures off my desktop and enter them in the contest.' To my amazement, it turned out very well."
She entered "Alli's Dream" in the "goals" category. It was among 91 finalists from among all the submissions. Some of the other celebrity judges -- among them actor Jamie Foxx; Georgina Chapman (co-founder of the high-end women's wear line Marchesa); James Murphy (founder of LCD Soundsystem); and Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter) -- have yet to announce their picks and it's always possible one of them may go for her photo too.
For Vickers, she was happy enough to have even made the semifinals. "When I saw it on 'E! News' and [Eva Longoria] holding my picture, there's no words to express it," she said.
For many years, Vickers owned and ran T.J.'s Family Hair Salon in Alum Creek. She named the business after an uncle -- Thomas Jefferson White -- who had a big influence on her life and the salon's name got to be her nickname: "T.J."
Then, for several years, she said, "I took care of anyone who needed taken care of. Parents and grandparents -- everybody seemed to get sick, and me and my husband took care of them until they passed."
About four years ago, at her daughter's urging, she took a photography workshop at Twin Falls State Park. She could never have dreamed that what would turn into a passionate hobby might one day show up on TV, much less film, she said.
"When I took that picture, I loved it for me. I love to take pictures that people don't see me take. Those are my favorites, for that picture to tell a story by itself."
She'll be flown to this year's Project IMAGINAT10N film fest in summer 2013, probably in New York, while also earning a $500 credit in Canon's online store.
When her daughter got her on the phone, she told her mother: "You need to scream!" Vickers recalled. "I said, 'I did -- the day I won! I screamed!'"
View other Project IMAGINAT10N photos at www.longliveimagination.com/.
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.