Arts Clayton showcases top photography entries

Photographs of a child splashing his feet in a lake, a hummingbird floating near a spider web, and several images of far-off destinations are on display this month at the Arts Clayton Gallery, in Jonesboro.

Photo Gallery

Approximately 50 people gathered at the gallery Friday evening for the opening of the exhibit featuring the top-50 images submitted for the Ninth Annual Juried Photography Competition.

The subject matter of the images also included a boat moving out to sea, a cat peering down from a fire escape, rusty, old gears, and a lone woman standing in the shadows on a wooden, covered bridge.

"This is a great exhibit," Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin told attendees at the opening celebration. "It's one of our favorites, and we look forward to it every year ... I think, sometimes, it can't get any better, and I'm continually amazed by the artists that participate with us."

The photography exhibit is set to remain on display through Oct. 29, at the gallery, which is located at 136 South Main Street, in Jonesboro, according to Gallery Assistant Courtney Forte.

She added that this year's competition received 110 entries. A jury, made up of past winners of the competition, whittled the field down by more than half to the group that ended up being shown in the exhibit.

Local professional photographers Gary Gruby and Paul Conlan then judged each of the 50 pieces in the exhibit, and chose a "Best of Show" photograph, as well as first-, second-, and third-place images. There were also four honorable mention entries, Forte said.

Photographer Anne Walker won the contest's "Best of Show" award for her photograph, "Childhood Reflections." The picture shows a small child, with his back to the camera, sitting on a dock and splashing his feet in a lake. The reflection of the sky can be seen in the lake's waters, only to be slightly disturbed by the ripples being created by the child's splashing.

The youth's tiny, turquoise shoe is sitting just behind his left hand on the dock.

In notes provided by Arts Clayton, judges explained that Walker's photograph won because it "is both powerful and gentle at the same time. [It has] good exposure and detail. The print execution is perfect. The turquoise shoe and earth tones are a nice touch. This image looks as though the world stops around the subject."

Walker was not present to hear the accolades and applause for her photograph in person. Forte said she could not attend the ceremony because she was traveling outside the country. The gallery assistant added that "Childhood Reflections" was the only photograph Walker entered in the competition.

Walker's photograph also won the Juror Award, which was decided by head juror, Jason Morrison. Arts Clayton Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Gower said it came close to a "Triple Crown"-style sweep, by also finishing second in the voting for the Patron's Award, which is chosen through a vote of attendees at the exhibit's opening night.

The Patron's Award, instead, went to Elise Dotson's "Shattered Dreams," which featured shards of a broken mirror, which showed the reflections of people walking by on a sidewalk.

The other awards were won by Anne Fields' "Hummingbird on the Web" (First Place); Fred Link's "Alone Again" (Second Place); Dale Niles' "Blueberries" (Third Place); Donna Rosser's "Flyby on Yellow" (Honorable Mention); Link's "Opening to the Light" (Honorable Mention); Robert Dotson's "Charioteer" (Honorable Mention), and Eddie Flemming's "Hub and Spokes" (Honorable Mention).