Kim Signoret-Paar of La Jolla takes top photo prize at San Diego County Fair

Kim Signoret-Paar has been an avid photographer since childhood, when she took her new Brownie on a second-grade field trip to Lincoln’s home and then won a championship ribbon at the county fair in her hometown of Davenport, Iowa. That’s when she dreamed of becoming a globetrotting photographer for

National Geographic.

Now she has been awarded “Best of Show” at the 2014 San Diego County Fair photography exhibition held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. She credits her UC San Diego Extension certificate in photography as the turning point in mastering her art. She is currently working on a children’s book series. (

With a University of Iowa journalism degree, her career in Mexico City and San Diego has focused on publishing and fundraising. While her two sons attended the San Diego French American School, she served on the school’s board and assisted in its move to the top of Mount Soledad in La Jolla.

She has worked in fundraising at University of San Diego, and now at UC San Diego where she has been raising funds for scholarships since 2001.

What brought you to La Jolla?

What literally brought us to La Jolla was a home advertised on the back page of the

La Jolla Light

in December 1999. With the home’s proximity to La Jolla High School, our sons were able to walk to a great school! And my husband, Hans Paar, a physics professor at UC San Diego, and I could easily get to work. I originally moved to San Diego to be close to the ocean and dreamed of living even closer … now I live that dream and wake up to see the ocean every morning.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Bury all the cables, pave the streets, add flowers along the way, and add more sidewalk cafés. We could enjoy the beauty of the Village even more! Finally, add the trolley back so we can easily get to downtown San Diego and connect to the train to Los Angeles and beyond.

Who or what inspires you?

Nature inspires me. We are seeking on every level to understand how things work and it is truly amazing!

What are your five favorite movies?

My old-time favorites are “The Wizard of Oz,” “Citizen Kane,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Fantasia” and “My Fair Lady.”

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would love to host a dinner for women who history has remembered or will remember: Elizabeth I, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cleopatra, Indira Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton.

What is it that you most dislike?

That would be the proliferation of guns in the United States and the resulting violence in schools and public places.

What is your most-prized possession?

First, the things that I can’t replace … family photographs, my photographs and family genealogy records, and then all my camera equipment!

What do you do for fun?

Try new restaurants and old favorites with my husband, family and friends. l also enjoy going on photo jaunts with friends or by myself.

What is your philosophy of life?

My approach to life has always been to question, to explore. I very much value the motto of the University of California that succinctly says: Fiat Lux … Let there be light.

What would be your dream vacation?

I love to stay on boats and ships that disembark at cities and towns to explore. It would be my dream vacation to follow the maritime Spice Trade Route of the Middle Ages in the Indian Ocean from Southeast Asia to India, Persia and Arabia, up to Egypt and the down the coast of Africa.