From its name to its venue, the Kingsport Fall Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition has undergone plenty of changes since its inception nine years ago.
What hasn’t changed is the focus of the event, which Ann Penley created to promote interest in the art of photography and to give both amateur and professional photographers an outlet to showcase their talents.
“We started it as something to promote photography as an art and to have a regional contest that people feel good about,” Penley said. “I don’t do it for anything but the fact that I know that we have great photographers in this area. They like to compete but there’s no pressure with it.
They just have fun.”
This year’s exhibit, which opens Monday and will remain on display at the Downtown Kingsport Association’s Main Art Center Gallery through Sept. 26, will feature 349 entries from photographers across the region — and beyond.
“I actually had one all the way from San Francisco, Calif.,” Penley said. “In the past I have had Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland represented, so this is my farthest one. I was just jumping for joy on that one.”
Penley prides herself on the fact that every photograph entered is included in the exhibition.
“It looks like a patchwork quilt in a way,” she said. “Small photos, large photos, rectangular and square photos. It really looks cool to piece them on the wall like a puzzle.”
A panel of three judges were tasked with choosing this year’s winners.
Best of Show went to Charles Edwards’ “‘Gnat’ Lunch.” Edwards also won the Jerry Penley I Love The Blue Ridge/Appalachians Award for his photograph titled “Sunburst.” Named after Ann’s late father, an avid nature photographer, the Jerry Penley award is presented to the photograph that best depicts the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region.
In the Amateur Pictorial Color division, first place was awarded to Wayne Walker for “Puddle, Leaves, and Trees”; second place went to Sarah Guy for “Leon the Neon”; and third place was awarded to Mary Hogue for “Hummingbird and Hibiscus.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Pauline Petsel, Naomi West, Larry Wingo, Darlena Bachman, Natasha Connor, Mary Hogue, Michelle McClure, Brianna Bishop, Owen Franklin, Nikki Weaver, Lora Lyons, Rebekah Hunt, Brandon Doran, Jack Vandervate, Jerry Webb, Angie Shivley, John Hill, Bill Hicks and LeAnne Harrington.
In the Amateur Pictorial Black & White division, Brandon Doran took home top honors for “A Long Time” and second place for “Escape Is So Simple.” Third place went to Michelle McClure for “Where’d He Go?” Honorable mentions were awarded to Pauline Petsel, Bobby Wheeler, Mary Hogue, Nikki Weaver, Allison Russell, Brandon Doran, Tara Glisson and Shannon Price.
In the Amateur/Proficient Railgrass category, Fred Martin won first and second place for “Old 66” and “Catcher Caught,” and his wife, Diane Johnson-Martin took home third for “Plant on Track.” Honorable mentions went to Wayne Walker, Charles Edwards, Rob Beverly, Fred Martin and Diane Johnson-Martin.
In the Amateur Nature Color division, Natasha Connor’s “Love Birds of Bryce Canyon” earned her first place. Second place went to Owen Franklin for “All My Ducks in a Row,” while third place was awarded to Debora Ketron for “Bathroom Break.” Honorable mentions went to J. Louie Greene, Mary Hogue, Brianna Bishop, Debora Ketron, Lora Lyons, H.T. Zollman, Linda Brown, Ed Baker, Wayne Walker, John Hill and LeAnne Harrington.
In the Amateur/Proficient Nature Black & White category, Jim Rigsby’s “Nature’s Gem” earned him a first-place finish. Fred Martin swept second and third places with his “Frosted Leaves” and “Teasel.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Larry Wingo, Brianna Bishop, Cindy Williams and Kayla Strong.
In the Proficient Pictorial Color division, Fred Martin won first place for “Broken Window.” Diane Johnson-Martin took home second place for “Cala III,” and third place went to Gwen Paton for “Old & Rusty.” Honorable mentions went to Charles Edwards, Rob Beverly, Jim Rigsby, Doris Hurley, Cindy Williams, Fred Martin, Diane Johnson-Martin, Tanya Hale and Laura Webb.
In the Proficient Nature Color division, Charles Edwards captured first place for his “‘Gnat’ Lunch” and second place for “Sunburst.” Third place went to Cindy Williams for “Morning Dew.” Those receiving honorable mentions were Jeff Warner, Cindy Williams, Fred Martin, Kayla Strong and Gwen Paton.
In the Proficient Pictorial Black & White category, Diane Johnson-Martin took home top honors for “Goat” and second place for “Two Orchids.” Jim Rigsby won third place for “Daybreak.” Honorable mentions went to Cindy Williams, Fred Martin, Diane Johnson-Martin, Lee Fatherree and Gwen Paton.
Logan Venable received both first place and an honorable mention in the Youth category.
Awards will be presented during the reception/awards ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m., Sept. 10, with the exception of the People’s Choice award, which will be presented at 4 p.m., Sept. 22. Deadline for visitors to vote for People’s Choice is 3 p.m., Sept. 22.
“With the judges, it’s not just that they like a picture. It’s everything that makes a picture,” Penley said. “It’s composition, color, clarity, if it tells a story, the subject matter, everything that makes a great picture. The thing with the People’s Choice is of course they’re going to notice if it’s fuzzy or the color isn’t good, but most of the time if they look at it and they like it, they’re going to vote for that picture. It doesn’t matter whether it fills all the criteria that the judges look for.”
The show is open during regular business hours Monday through Friday and during a special viewing from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17. Admission is free.This year’s show has yet to open and already Penley is getting a jump start on planning for next year’s 10th anniversary exhibition.
“Next year I am looking at doing things in a big way,” she said. “My goal for next year is 600-plus entries. I’d like to have a big blowout contest and have this whole place wallpapered in pictures.”
For more information, call Penley at (423) 914-5453.
Exhibit spotlights talent of regional photographers