“Each year the event welcomes back veteran photographers and greets new photographers,” says Ann Fortney, the creator and organizer, thanks to those who enter each year, new photographers who find and want to enter, and friends and families who know someone that they encourage to enter.
“I know of photographers who encourage others to enter because they enjoy photography; whether it is as a hobby or beginning to sell their work. I am always encouraging photographers to enter because it builds confidence in the hobbyist, and can get works of those breaking into business seen.”
The event's mission is “to promote interest and fun in the ever-growing art of photography. To provide a quality competition for amateur and professional, young and young at heart in the region and beyond."
This means that the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition is for absolutely everyone. Whether you have just picked up a camera for the first time or have been a photographer for years; whether you enjoy photography as a hobby or as a professional, this event is for you.
Each year, Ann's goal is to grow the show. She has reserved both the Main Gallery and the Atrium Gallery, located in the Kingsport Renaissance Center, and looks forward to filling it with the talents of the photographers who enter.
“I put out a challenge each year. I have all this space and I believe in myself to hang every photograph that is entered. In the past, I have had as many as 588 photos entered, and I had a lot less space than I do now, and I was able to hang all 588 photos. So, I want the photographers to challenge to me to hang even more,” she said.
The Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition is divided into three levels of competition: Youth, Amateur and Proficient. The Youth level is for those photographers ages 14 and under. The Youth level is a bit different in that Ann doesn’t divide the photographs into categories. She says that there just aren't enough participants and entries to divide them into categories like the Amateur and Proficient levels. The photographs will be judged together, and the judges will be looking for all the elements that make a good photograph. The judges will also take into account the inexperience of the young photographers.
The Amateur level is for those people who are just getting into photography, those who enter competitions but don't regularly place in the top three; and those who do not sell their photographs.
The Proficient level is for those people who are of a higher skill level in photography, who enter competitions and places first, second or third regularly, and who sell or offer to sell their photographs.
Those levels are then further divided into categories and each category, except the Special Theme, is subdivided into color and monochrome (black & white). The categories are: Nature, Pictorial and the Carrie Penley Special Theme.
The Nature category is defined as “having nothing manmade” in it at all. The Pictorial Category can be anything and everything, including nature photographs. If you are not sure if your nature photo fits into the Nature category, Ann recommends entering it in the Pictorial category.
The original image must be made by the entrant. The image may be altered digitally and artwork or graphic, created by the entrant, may be incorporated as long as the photo contents predominates.
“I understand there is software out there to make photos better, but the judges and I are interested in the work and skill of the photographer not the computer. I tell photographers who ask me about it this, 'I have no problem with it, if it equals what you would do in a real darkroom setting.' In other words, if you can’t do it in a darkroom then don’t do it on a computer.”
The Carrie Penley Special Theme category honors Ann's mother, who loved all kinds of scavenger hunts, especially photographic scavenger hunts. The theme changes each year to keep photographers on their toes, and because Ann says "it's just plain fun." This year’s theme is “AGE.” The photographs need to show “AGE.” For example, old or classic cars, rusted keys, old houses, barns, people, etc. This category is only limited by the person’s imagination. Have fun with it and think outside the box.
There are monetary prizes and ribbons awarded to those photographs placing first, second and third, as well as Best of Show and People’s Choice. There are also honorable mention ribbons awarded. Plus, there is one special award - The Jerry Penley “I Love the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region” - which honors Ann’s father. Ann's parents supported her ambitious idea of creating a photography contest. In 2002, they helped her create it and volunteered their help behind the scenes. When her father passed in 2006, she and her mother wanted to honor his love of the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region with a special award. This award goes to the one photograph that best depicts the love of the Blue Ridge/ Appalachians like her father had. It can be of anything: historic buildings, barns, houses, scenic photos, Americana, waterfalls/water photos, flowers, animals, etc.
“If you want ideas of what the judges are looking for simply go to our website (www.penjaccphoto.com) and look at the photo gallery. There you can get a feel for what the award is about. There are photos of other locales, but the focus is on the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region.”
Participants can enter the same photo into one of the other three categories as well. To enter it for this special award, there is a place on the application to request it be judged for the award. It is required that the location where the photo was taken be named, so be sure to put that on the application as well.
The People’s Choice Award is a chance for patrons who visit the exhibit to become judges. After looking at the exhibit, guests have an opportunity to place a vote for your favorite photograph. The deadline for voting will be 6 p.m., June 19.
There is an $5 fee per entry and there are no limits on the number of entries a person may enter. All entry fees are turned back into the event in the way of monetary prizes, ribbons and the award reception.
Entry forms are available in photo labs, most craft/hobby stores, matting/framing stores, libraries, some gift stores, at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and the Kingsport Carousel. It is also available online at www.penjaccphoto.com.
Contest entries will be accepted at Rainbow’s End Floral and Gift Shop, 214 E. Center St. Kingsport, TN 37660 on weekdays beginning April 30 and continuing through May 11 and on Saturdays, May 5 and May 12, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Entries from outside the area may be shipped to: Ann Fortney 154 W. Wanola Ave Kingsport, TN 37660. The deadline for entries is 3 p.m., May 12. The Awards Reception will be held June 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Main Art Gallery located at the Kingsport Renaissance Center.
For more information, contact Ann Fortney at (423) 914-5453, email [email protected], or message her on Facebook at: Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition.