Photo contest garners stirring moments

By on April 14, 2015
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This untitled photo by Jonathan Crosby is a winning shot from the Art Association’s 2014 photography competition.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The other day two local artists were lamenting technology’s impact on photography. “It’s lost some of its romanticism,” one artist mused of the process. “The days of spending hours in the dark room are long gone.”

True, the painstaking processes once required of shutterbugs are no longer necessary. As a result, more folks are jumping behind the lens, dialing in automatic settings on DSLRs and sweetening images in Photoshop.

But a rising number of quality photographs – filter or no filter – promises positive ramifications too. It means discerning viewers are demanding deeper and more meaningful nuances from photographic images. It is not just lighting, color and composition, but also creative methods that embrace technology and a photo’s ability to stir an emotional response that makes it memorable.

This Friday presents an opportunity to view a collection of poignant moments and rousing compositions during the Art Association’s fourth annual juried photography contest. The opening reception will showcase photos from what the jury has deemed the strongest body of work submitted to date.

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The American Dream – Approaching the Whitetail by Bin-Feng.

A national call for entries asked photographers, both amateur and professional, to submit in four categories, wildlife/animal; outdoor life/sports; portrait/figure and experimental/abstract.

Art Association gallery director and photography department head Thomas Macker said he was particularly impressed by images submitted in the experimental category.

“I am always heartened that despite our location in the Tetons that the most ‘submitted’ category by far is experimental/abstract. As a facilitator, I’ve heard a lot of comments as to the cryptic nature of that category or its obtuseness,” Macker said. “However, I think the high number proves that it is a necessary outlet for photographers to feel that they are artists – often times that line is drawn too firmly between artist and photographer, which I wish to dispel.”

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Splayed Apple Tree by John Rich.

Just as intriguing as the sundry assemblage of entries, which Macker has been laboring over all week, matting and framing 60 images to be displayed in the show, is the jury, comprised of acclaimed artists who hail from different corners of the photography milieu.

“The jury was selected out of a growing need to expand visual perspective and anonymity,” Macker said.

The roster includes award-winning photographer Karolina Karlic, whose work, Macker explained, includes investigations in cultural Diasporas and the human condition, from illuminating Brazil’s rubber industry to Henry Ford’s influence on the industrial and agricultural landscape.

From New York to Milan and Los Angeles, Ramak Fazel is a deeply prolific and studied photographer who, Macker noted, not only knows the history of image culture, but played a role in its development. “He has archived and exhibited his conceptual photography internationally while maintaining an investigation in fashion, design, architectural, and editorial photography,” Macker said.

Rounding out the jury is famed local wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, who has juried for the competition in previous years. “I know Tom Mangelsen because of his local folkloric fame and world famous images,” Macker said. “He knows the local flora and fauna like the back of his hand and he has probably carefully viewed most of the images of wildlife through his own lens in the past.”

Fourth Annual Jackson Hole Photography Competition

When: Opening reception 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday

Where: Art Association Gallery, 240 S. Glenwood

Wallet: Free; framed prints on sale for $65

Info: www.artassociation.org; [email protected]

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine and former editor of Planet Jackson Hole. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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