Day 78: Visit PhotoSpiva 2014 Exhibit


Today’s first, visiting the PhotoSpiva 2014 Exhibit, was interesting! Located in the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, in downtown Joplin, the competition is an annual event. This was the 38th edition of PhotoSpiva and yet it was the first time I’ve attended! Each year I’ve thought about going. This year, I was intentional, and delighted to experience this well known event as a first.

I was surprised to learn that 176 photographers, nationwide, submitted 1,014 entries in the competition. Photographer and educator Dornith Doherty, from Denton, Texas, selected 82 images to create an exhibition of photographic excellence. The photographers who submitted their work are both amateurs and professionals. Ms. Doherty pored through the submissions online, selecting the ones that would appear in the exhibit. She arrived in Joplin on March 13 to determine which photographs won and shared $2000 in cash prizes.

Like viewing any kind of art, viewing photography is subjective. I moved slowly through the gallery and studied each of the 82 photos. I didn’t attempt to analyze so much as I allowed the pictures to speak to me. Some told stories….sad stories, stories of decay and the inevitability of entropy and death. Some captured joy or humor and made me smile. Several spoke to my mystical side. One such photograph had a title that seems to be a tagline for my life, “Some things just can’t be explained”.

A few of the entries made me tilt my head, much like a dog who is trying to figure something out. All of the photos represented a person behind the camera. Seeing their photos gave me a glimpse into their world, their reality. Looking at their works, I literally saw what they saw.

My favorite photograph was quite popular, apparently. It won the People’s Choice Award. Titled “Floating Girl”, it is the image in the picture above, accompanying this blog. The photographer is Victor Chalfant from Fayetteville, AR. I love the photo! The light is exquisite and the image simple, beautiful and captivating. The first place winner submitted a photo of historic Brooklyn. The image certainly told a story and the longer I looked at the photograph the more I saw.

I enjoyed my time at the exhibit and I have a deep appreciation for the talented photographers. They inspire me to pick up a camera and capture my world. Another great first for this year would be a photography class and perhaps entering a contest myself. Regardless, I’m glad I didn’t let another year pass without making it to this wonderful exhibit.