On a day when temperatures reached over a hundred degrees, seven of Nashville’s most prominent photographers assembled around a conference room table to judge Nashville Arts Magazine’s third annual amateur photography competition. The impressive panel of judges included noted Nashville photographers Jerry Atnip, Robin Paris, Tony Scarlati, Norman Lerner, Mark Tucker, Larry Boothby, and Michael Gomez. Each judge used a different technique to size up the photographs—framing shots with fingers, peering through a squinted eye, holding up an iPhone to create a level plane, and moving around the room to gain multiple perspectives. After much debate the votes were cast and the winners announced.
At the end of the day, the judges found themselves reflecting on their paths of becoming professionals. Lerner remarked, “For amateurs the level of accomplishment was so very high that I questioned if I myself had submitted work anonymously, would it have been accepted and no less placed in the top three.” Acknowledging the challenge of getting started, Gomez thanked all of the photographers who had the courage to enter their images.
Each year the photography competition allows Nashville Arts Magazine readers a glimpse of the creativity in photography happening around us. Paris describes the top ten photographs featured on these pages as “explorations of things that might normally escape our notice but now give us new ways to think about ourselves.”