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Arts Clayton chooses winners of photography contest

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Professional photographers recently examined, critiqued and scrutinized 56 of the best examples of photography and photographic art that the southside has to offer, and decided the winners of the Arts Clayton 2007 Juried Photography Show and Competition.

This year -- the sixth year of the competition's existence -- the photos that won awards were those that could convey traditional or ordinary topics in new and interesting ways.

The photographers with winning entries went to great lengths to get just the right angles in works that depict, among other images, cattle during a blizzard, or a man (the photographer) dressing up as a German soldier in a World War II re-enactment.

The big winner for this year's competition was retired arts educator, Lanny Milbrandt, of Stockbridge. His black and white portrait entitled, "Arkansas Cattle," won 'Best in Show' and will be purchased by Arts Clayton to become part of its permanent collection.

Milbrandt, who retired as Dean of the College of the Arts at Valdosta State University in 2002, was inspired to take the picture during a trip to his mother-in-law's home in Arkansas, during Christmas of last year.

"I was visiting relatives and it happened to be a heavily sodden, wet, snowy day," said Milbrandt. "It seemed like an opportunity to see what was going on in nature."

Milbrandt's mother-in-law had apparently leased part of her property to a local cattle farm for grazing. Some of the cattle had huddled together in a wooded corner of the property to seek shelter from the storm.

When he learned that his photo of the snow-covered cattle won Best in Show, Milbrandt said he was surprised, particularly because of the caliber of photography displayed.

"There was some excellent photography there," he said. "Photography is the perfect art form, in that you deal immediately with order, composition, and arrangement ... you can get right into it."

Milbrandt added that the advent of digital photography only added to the variety of ways different subjects can be displayed.

"With digital photography, you don't need a chemical darkroom, because the darkroom is in your computer," he said.

First-place winner, John Nowak, an Atlanta-based freelance photographer, took away $100 for his black and white photo, entitled, "The Coast."

Nowak went to great lengths when he took the picture nearly three years ago, dressing up in a WWII-era German soldier costume and shooting the scene with a 1940s-era Rangefinder camera.

"I tried to find a really old camera," said Nowak. "I found some photography professors and asked them what kind of film stocks they had in the 1940s. They had to dress me up like a German soldier," he continued. "You have to dress the part, because you are part of the scene as well."

Daniel Osborne, of Atlanta, took the second-place prize for his entry, "Handmade Dwelling," a close-up of a man-made, homeless dwelling.

Derek Jecxz, of Yardley, Penn., took third place for "Reflection," a slow exposure photo of rocks near an ocean shore.

Jason Morrison, of McDonough, got honorable mention for his photo entitled, "Free," showing children enjoying a high-flying, carnival ride.

Arts Clayton's next juried show opportunity is the 2008 Juried Art Competition held in February. All Georgia artists, 18 or older, are invited to enter all forms of two-and three-dimensional art, with the exception of photography.

Like the photography competition, the Best in Show of the art competition will receive a purchase award, as well as a featured exhibit at the Arts Clayton gallery in 2008.

For more information, go to www.artsclayton.org.