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Winners announced in Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest

Staff • Updated Jun 12, 2018 at 3:19 PM

The 16th annual Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition, an event that has reached as far as California in past contests, recently held its judging for the 2018 season.

The judges, who have an extensive background in photography, were chosen by Ann Fortney, the creator and organizer of the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition. She picks the judges based on their expertise and tries to change the judges every year.

“I want the participants in the contest to understand when their photographs are being judged they are being judged by the best,” Fortney said. 

To ensure unbiased scores, the judges blindly rate the photographs. The Eastman Camera Club loans the contest a light box and scoring boxes that allow the judges to place their score for each photograph without knowing the other judges’ scores. The scores go to a master box, where a scorekeeper records them. The judges have no idea which photograph is the winner until it is announced at the end of the category being judged.

With 93 participants and 497 entries, there were ties in each of the 13 categories. “That is the kind of talent we have in this competition,” Fortney said. “We have to break ties in every category almost every year.”

The 2018 judges were Jim Goodwin, Eddie Lambert, Earl Neikirk, Jay Phyfer, Randy Ratcliff and Dave Taylor.

This year, organizers were surprised and pleased with the number of entries in the youth category; 17 young photographers entered a total of 32 photographs. “This is the first time we have had more than a handful of youth entering photos,” said Fortney.

Many of these entries were encouraged by a local art teacher, whose students submitted photographs as part of a final project. The contest is for photographers of all ages and skill levels, and organizers hope to see even more youth entries next year.

“I would love to see more art teachers encourage their students to enter as well. The competition is a good way to advance their skill levels in photography,” Fortney said.

On Sunday, June 3, the exhibition portion of the event opened in the Kingsport Art Guild’s Main Gallery and Atrium Gallery of the Kingsport Renaissance Center with an awards reception. It was open to the participating photographers and to the public — a total of 200 attendees, who were the first to see the exhibit. Each of the 497 photographs were exhibited, regardless of whether they had placed or received honorable mentions.

“Everyone works all year to take photographs they feel could win or place. I feel if they care enough about this event and me to enter this competition, then I should care enough to give everyone a chance to say their photographs are hanging in an exhibition,” said Fortney. “Every one of the photos are hanging and the ribbons are also hanging with the winning photos.”

The 2018 Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition winners, according to competition level and category, are:

YOUTH: 1st place — “Father and Son” by Elizabeth Kliesch; 2nd place —“Audience of One” by Emush Lamb; 3rd place —“Reflections” by Emily Chandler.Hhonorable mentions: Shannon Dunning, Amy Van Der Westhuizen, John David Carroll, Elizabeth Kliesch, Emma Fontenot, Elijah Folck, Austin Rushing, Gregory Gerlock, John Clarity, Hannah Briscoe and Braydon Alexander.

AMATEUR PICTORIAL COLOR: 1st place —“Industrial Daisy” by Maureen Mulroy; 2nd place — “A Foggy Morning” by Mari Jane Phillippi; 3rd place — “Spoon Rockettes” by Robert L. Soyars. Honorable mentions: Bernese Goodman, Teresa Justice, Maureen Mulroy, Jane Conlon, Mari Jane Phillippi, Heather Quillen, Elkan Polston, Owen Franklin, Norma Koscinski, Shirley Bobo, Debbie Edmonds, Donna Lester, J. Louie Greene and Robert L. Soyars.

AMATEUR NATURE COLOR: 1st place — “Lunch on the Lake” by Donna Lester; 2nd Place — “Sailor Be Warned” by Jeff Bobo; 3rd Place — “Fall Leaves in a Waterfall” by Satori Tompkins. Honorable mentions: Dina Gyorkei, Teresa Justice, Elkan Polston, Amanda Hubbard, Libby Sampson, Owen Franklin, Satori Tompkins, Alissa Burse, Norma Koscinski, Donna Lester, Jennie Dean, Deborah A. Ramey and Robert L. Soyars.

AMATEUR PICTORIAL MONOCHROME: 1st place — “Broken Dreams” by Robert L. Soyars; 2nd place — “Father’s Love” by Wendy Himo; 3rd place — “Slinky Torus” by Robert L. Soyars. Honorable mentions: Kristien Hinkle, Wendy Himo, Leanne Alexander, Annette Forester and Deborah A. Ramey

AMATEUR NATURE MONOCHROME: 1st place — “Are You Looking at Me” by Deborah A. Ramey; 2nd place — “On Gossamer Wings” by Deborah A. Ramey; 3rd place — “Coming? Or Going?” by Deborah A. Ramey. Honorable mentions: Libby Sampson, Jennie Dean and Leanne Alexander.

AMATEUR CARRIE PENLEY SPECIAL THEME “AGE”: 1st place — “An Age Forgotten” by Timothy Rice; 2nd place — “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Teresa Ring; 3rd place — “Standing Proud” by Elkan Polston. Honorable mentions: Dayton Pillion, Teresa Justice, Maureen Mulroy, Robert C. Murray, Owen Franklin, Kristien Hinkle, Satori Tompkins, Anita Smith, Catrina Fletcher, Jeff Bobo, Stefania Collins, Mary Engleking. Annette Forester and Deborah A. Ramey.

PROFICIENT PICTORIAL COLOR: 1st place — “Grist Mill in Snowfall” by Terri Campbell; 2nd place — “Evening Glow on the Virgin” by Belinda Bridwell; 3rd place — “Journey to Winter” by Terri Campbell. Honorable mentions: Mark Roberts, Jim Risgby, Frank Renault, Roseanne Haaland, Chip Michel, Belinda Bridwell, Rob Storrs, Brad McCroskey, Michelle Harless, Regina Shinall and Richard Currie.

PROFICIENT NATURE COLOR: 1st place — "Shaded Garden” by Jim Rigsby; 2nd place — “Calm After the Storm” by Mark Roberts; 3rd place — “Cardinal in the Light” by Kent Gray. Honorable mentions: Mark Roberts, Jim Rigsby, Frank Renault, Chip Michel, Belinda Bridwell, Rob Storrs, Wayne Mast, Terri Campbell, Regina Shinall, Bud Shinall and Richard Currie.

PROFICIENT PICTORIAL MONOCHROME: 1st place "Twisted Life” by Belinda Bridwell; 2nd place — “Big World” by Jim Rigsby; 3rd Place — “Lake Moraine” by Mark Roberts. Honorable mentions: Richard Hood, Mark Roberts, Terri Campbell, Brad McCroskey, Tracy Harris and Rebecca Kinder.

PROFICIENT NATURE MONOCHROME: 1st place — "Some Trees Don’t Need a Forest” by Terri Campbell; 2nd place — “Evening Reflections” by Belinda Bridwell; 3rd place — “Abstract” by Rob Storrs; and 3rd place — “Spirit Island” by Mark Roberts, Honorable mentions: Mark Roberts, Terri Campbell and Regina Shinall.

PROFICIENT CARRIE PENLEY SPECIAL THEME “AGE”: 1st place — "Buick Teeth” by Mark Roberts; 2nd place — “A Last Hoorah” by Bud Shinall; 3rd place — “Ol’ Chuck” by Terri Campbell. Honorable mentions: Jim Rigsby, Roseanne Haaland, James Blucher III, Rob Storrs, Terri Campbell, Regina Shinall and Rebecca Kinder.

BEST OF SHOW: “Some Trees Don’t Need a Forest” by Terri Campbell.


Fortney’s parents were the first supporters of her plan to create a photography contest and exhibit. When she lost her father, Jerry, in 2006, she and her mother created an award to honor him and his love of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain regions. This award goes to the photograph the judges feel best represents that love of the region. Those interested in knowing what the judges look for can go to the website to view Jerry’s photographs at www.penjaccphotography.com.

There is still one award to be determined, and that is the People's Choice Award. This award is voted on by the patrons coming to see the exhibit. Each patron gets one vote for their favorite photo. The deadline is Tuesday, June 19th at 6 p.m., and the winner will be announced soon after.

The Carrie Penley Special Theme category was renamed to honor Fortney’s mother. This category, which features a new theme every year, includes 1st, 2nd, 3rd places and honorable mentions. This year, the category received enough entries to be divided into amateur and proficient levels. The 2019 Carrie Penley Special Theme category is: “Playtime.” Photographs submitted to this category should fit the theme in some way, but participants are encouraged to think outside the box.

In 2018, the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition was sponsored by Adventure Time Hot Air Ballooning, Eastman Camera Club, Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Hardee's of Kingsport, Holston Valley Broadcasting Corp., Kingsport Art Guild, Kingsport Imaging Systems Inc., Kingsport Renaissance Center, Kingsport Times News, Mac's Medicine Mart, Mycroft Signs, Rainbow's End Floral and Gift Shop, Signature Properties, Spivey, King & Spivey LLP, Stir Fry Cafe, and The Loafer. The organization thanks these sponsors as well as its volunteers, Lester Duncan, Edna Walker, and Dick, Phillis and Wayne Fortney.

The Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition has a Facebook page, which Fortney updates weekly with photos from the year’s exhibition, photography information or just fun posts.

As Fortney’s father used to close his articles with, “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.”

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