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Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition Open for Submissions; Deadline for Submissions is Nov. 21

By Madison Fisler Lewis

Unwanted Art by Brent McGuirt was a finalist in last year's competition
Unwanted Art by Brent McGuirt was a finalist in last year’s competition

Oct. 22, 2014. Submissions are now being accepted for the 12th annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition, which provides photographers the opportunity to showcase their own interpretation of the character, people and places that make the southern Appalachian mountains unique and special.

“We have all types of people who enter this competition,” said Rich Campbell, associate director of outdoor programs at Appalachian State University.

“Amateurs, professionals, teenagers, students. People from all walks of life and from all over the place. You don’t have to be from here to enter, the images just have to be of something in Southern Appalachia. This is a homegrown competition, so many of the submissions are from local photographers, but we have had entries from a lot of different places over the years.”

The competition strives to find images that are real, authentic depictions of Southern Appalachia.

“It is important to have people out there taking pictures,” Campbell said. “You can look at a familiar landscape, like Grandfather Mountain or Linville Gorge, in a unique way and if you can capture that and share it will people, it makes people re-examine that place and maybe fall in love with it all over again. It is a great way to challenge people to look at something familiar in a new way.”

The competition has several categories, and all categories are open to amateur and professional photographers.

Categories include Adventure, Blue Ridge Parkway-Beyond the Blacktop, Culture, Our Ecological Footprint, Flora/Fauna and landscape. Once the submission deadline approaches, jurors will begin the judging process for all of the submitted photographs.

“We have three jurors, they all have a photographic background,” said Campbell. “Once submission are finished, we get the jurors together and we look at the images digitally on an online platform. We look at the images and go through one by one in each category and we try to come up with anywhere from six to ten per category. Then we have a list of anywhere from 45-50 images overall which makes for a really great show.”

Once the jurying process is completed, the selected images are showcased at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on the campus of Appalachian State University. The exhibition begins on March 6 and runs through June 6. The official winners of the competition are chosen from those in the exhibition.

“We officially announce all of the winners on March 28, and from that point on the winning images in the exhibition are labeled,” said Campbell.

The winning photographs win various cash prizes which are sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Footsloggers Outdoor and Travel Outfitters and Appalachian Voices. The prizes include the following:

  • Best in Show – $1,000
  • Category Winners – $250
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Ecological Footprint Award – $500
  • People’s Choice Award – $350

The submission limit is 3 images per photographer per category. Cost for submission is $6 per image.

A portion of the proceeds from the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition are used to support the Outdoor Programs Student Outdoor Learning Expeditions at ASU.

“It is a very competitive competition, but we have had a lot of people that do very well in their first photo competition,” Campbell said. “We really encourage people to try, even if they aren’t professional. We really want to get the word out there to those who might be interested in shooting images and might be on the fence.”

Those wishing to participate are encouraged to start taking photos as early as possible. Submissions can be made online here.

For more information about the competition, click here.