HughE Dillon’s Top 14 Philadelphia Photos of 2012

From visiting celebrities to fund-raising philanthropists, the images of the year.

Somehow a small party at the Independence Seaport in February to celebrate the release of the Mighty Macs DVD turned a cold night into hot news about a “new couple”: Top Chef Jennifer Carroll and Tony Luke Jr. In Phillywood, news spread like wildfire that the two would walk the red carpet together, and sure enough, the media came out in droves to report on Philly’s newest food pairing—or not. I’m privileged to know Jen and Tony personally. Tony has been dating Jennifer Schloder for over a year, and Jen Carroll’s knee-deep in working on her new New York restaurant. The two were just going together as friends, having met when Jen moved into the Waterfront Square Condos where Tony lives; but it was fun to have a little bit of the PR movie magic here in Philly.

Best Dressed! Christie Honigman, of the Honigman Group, and Dan Engel, at the Young Friends of the Academy Ball in January. Christie is wearing a smashing Jovani dress. The gorgeous illusion bodice is topped off by a sweetheart neckline that’s bolstered by clusters of chic floral appliques. The two met in college as roommates, and have remained good friends. [See all Academy Ball 2012 photos here.]

Fox 29’s Good Day co-anchors, Mike Jerrick and Sheinelle Jones, were the masters of ceremonies at the Flyers Wives Fashion Show. Flyer Max Talbot helped demonstrate his ability to ride the first item up to bid. I love this shot, and it was a fun event, as the Flyers rarely do such a huge charity event outside of the Wells Fargo Center. [See all photos from the Flyers Wives Fashion Show here.

In March, Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton attended the preview party for the Philadelphia Flower Show. Regal, elegant, philanthropic, the family matriarch has instilled the same values in her children and grandchildren. I always know I’m at the right event when I come across a Hamilton in front of my lens.

Also in March, Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross, and her son, Alex Hughes, looked amazing at the 12th Annual Red Ball, held at the Please Touch Museum. I’ve heard rumors that she’s planning to run for district attorney against Seth Williams.

Best Dressed Unsung Heroes! Sallie and Saunders Dixon are co-founders of Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern. The Victory Gallop event began in 1985, and is Thorncroft’s biggest fund-raiser, generating money to provide scholarships to riders with disabilities, continuing education for instructors, and to offset the ongoing cost of operating the farm.

What a thrill it was in May to be one of three photographers to be tapped to shoot the opening of Revel in Atlantic City. Even though I wasn’t the one to shoot Beyonce (WireImage’s Kevin Mazur had that privilege), I did have the run of the red carpet where I snapped newly thin and engaged Jennifer Hudson before she went in to see the show.

Kacie McDonnell went from telling people to buy a Fiat, to telling people how to avoid jams on the highways when she joined the Fox 29 team in August, as the Good Day traffic reporter. Here, she’s participating in the Zarwin Baum Celebrity Casino Night, which benefited the Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Bold, outlandish, man-about-town Alexander Hankin is stylishly attired for the runway at the Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering held at the Comcast Center. With him is the “Queen of Yelp,” Michelle Cassidy, senior community manager for in Philadelphia; she’s flaunting an eye-catching dress from Arcadia Boutique.

I had a wonderful summer following the stars shooting movies in Philly, from Colin Farrell, of Dead Man Down, to the cast of Paranoia, including Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, who dined at the popular Indian restaurant Tashan at 777 South Broad Street, and met owner Munish Narula (left), and executive chef Sylva Senat. Thanks to my many tipsters, especially George, the manager over at Tashan.

In August, two of Philadelphia’s iconic women of media, Loraine Ballard Morrill, of Clear Channel, and Joyce Evans, of Fox 29, were on hand to celebrate radio legend Patty Jackson, of WDAS, and her 30 years in broadcasting. [See more “Celebrating Patty Jackson” photos here.]

More than 1,000 people dressed entirely in white and surrounded the Swann Memorial Fountain on the Ben Franklin Parkway for five hours in late August for quite an unusual social event. Part flash mob, part dinner party, not even the guests knew where this exclusive event would take place until an hour before it began, and then they poured into the site from five feeder streets in a beautiful sea of white and excitement. Look for Diner en Blanc to return next year as an annual event. As soon as the notice goes up, put your name in, as it sold out months in advance. It really was special. [See all the photos of Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc here.]

Philadelphia’s darling, Maria Papadakis, created a fairytale wedding in November inside the Academy of Music—not in the newly renovated ballroom, but by putting a floor on top of the orchestra-level seats. Here, the bride and her groom, Brendan Kent, dance to their first song together as man and wife, “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific, as performed by CTO Entertainment’s Eddie Bruce and his band. South Pacific was the first musical Brendan and Maria saw together at the Academy of Music. Pretty amazing. [See more Maria Papadakis wedding photos here.]

When Miley Cyrus, Noomi Rapace or Amber Heard aren’t running around our fair city, the lovely ladies of the news attract an equally interested audience. No one is more popular these days than NBC 10’s weather forecaster Sheena Parveen (third from left). Also pictured: NBC 10’s Rosemary Connors and Jillian Mele, former NBC 10 news personality Erin Como, Fox 29’s Alissa Ingram, WMMR’s Marisa Magnatta, and former NBC 10 reporter Justin Pizzi.