Our photography competition this year drew a record number of entries. Over 400 digital images jammed our mailbox, but more important to us was the quality of the work submitted. It was hard to tell the amateurs from the professionals, so we didn’t even try. Each image was judged anonymously purely on its presentation. Our judges this year, Hunter Armistead and Jerry Atnip, looked at and discussed every single photograph, sometimes at great length, to arrive at the final 10. The top 20 can be viewed online at nashvillearts.com. Thank you to all who entered, and please don’t stop clicking.
Photo competition sponsored by Chromatics Imaging For Decor
First place – $500 cash prize
Jerry Atnip: This image is full of visual clues that project the artist’s message. There is complete dichotomy between hope and despair, fear and taking chances, good and bad choices, living on the edge, and making the plunge.
Hunter Armistead: This is successful on so many levels. Perfect lighting, composition, and idea—and I especially enjoy the continuously revealing nature of the photograph.
Second place – $300 Chromatics Gift Certificate
HA: As a pure abstract, this is a very successful picture. But the mystery and psychodrama take it up to an enviable level.
JA: The artist allows us the privilege of projecting our own story into this mysterious image, yet does it in a beautifully abstract way. Even if I put my tendency to explore the narrative on hold, I’m still completely absorbed in the beautiful composition that is created with even the smallest details.
Third place – $200 Chromatics Gift Certificate
JA: A great portrait can put the viewer into the subject’s life, allowing you to experience their feelings. This image achieves that goal effectively. He is obviously greatly affected by something while the world behind him goes on without a notice.
HA: Evocative of the famous shot of the musician crying at FDR’s funeral. Very nicely shot and composed.
HA: A really nice shot. I love the composition and subject matter. I keep wishing it were a little softer.
JA: The artist has created a compressed image from a deep look at this place, causing an uneasy balance in our view. In our logical minds, we know that a road does not travel vertically as it seems to both here and in Men on a Rooftop by René Burri, but we have the ability to mentally correct it into its proper three dimensions.
JA: After experiencing the shock of red in this image, I start trying to interpret the subject’s expression. Is he projecting defiance, regrets, resolve, anger, revenge? The inclusion of subdued details in the background and in his appearance give us clues to the narrative.
HA: I love this one. It’s just a damn good portrait. Very contemporary and edgy.
HA: This is a lovely piece. I love the symmetry and reflection, which in turn makes me think.
JA: This is a well-executed architectural image giving the viewer a sense of place. The artist’s talent lies in his ability to know when to restrain from going over the top with his production.
JA: When viewers can put themselves in the photo’s place, feeling the air, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, the image will transcend its two-dimensional realm. This photograph successfully achieves that.
HA: This has so many strong points. I do wish it wasn’t quite as processed-looking. Overall, however, really nice.
HA: The image speaks for itself—it transcends the generic and ultimately is unavoidable.
JA: Eliciting feelings in the viewer is a trait of a good photograph. Depending on the viewer’s life experiences, the feelings present while enjoying this image can range from fear to sadness to melancholy and in some, perhaps, to humor. The artist’s choices provide all these and more.
JA: We assume this musician was not here playing without anyone else present, but the artist has skillfully isolated him with composition and depth of field control that eliminates all the clutter of the world and leaves just the subject.
HA: In a world of countless musicians’ shots, this stands out.
HA: A very nice study that continues to grow on me. Great geometry with repeating and reinforcing lines that intersect with a mysterious figure, herself with wonderful shapes and patterns.
JA: As a viewer of this image, I create more questions than answers, leaving me wanting to know more about this woman and her story. Why is she alone in this church, and what are her thoughts? The skillful use of color and composition help make this a successful image.
Jerry Atnip has a 39-year career as a commercial and fine art photographer. He is also a teacher, workshop director, curator, juror, and frequent lecturer. He is on the boards of several Arts & Photography organizations. He is an Exhibiting Member of the National Arts Club in New York, where he maintains a studio.
“I am a Nashville native with international experience in three continents, eight countries, and, most notably, the city of Berlin, my second home. Personally and with my photography, I am looking for beautiful, authentic experiences. I have shown in the Parthenon Museum and in Berlin, and I have worked with the Tennessee State Museum and with my favorite collectors.”