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Shooting for Preservation

Photography competition brings sustainability into focus

Steven Biller Arts & Entertainment 0 Comments

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Earth Through a Lens, a national juried photography exhibition, returns to Palm Springs, promoting a sustainable environment in the month we celebrate Earth Day. Emphasizing “beauty in the natural environment, the degradation of the environment by human activity, and attempts to reclaim or restore spoiled habitats,” a selection of photographs appears through April 30 at Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage Public Library. The Hyatt hosts an opening reception on April 4. During the same time period, digital images are being displayed on monitors at the California Museum of Photography in Riverside.

Themes included two categories: Natural Environment (desert, water, mountains) and Human Impact on the Planet (consumption, destruction/degradation, restoration/renewal).

Photographs were evaluated in a blind-jury process for their relevancy to the theme, as well as artistic merit. Jurors included Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jack Dykinga, California Museum of Photography Director Colin Westerbeck, Palm Springs Art Museum Chief Curator Katherine Hough, and others.

The contest, open to professional and amateur photographers, fielded more than 300 images from shooters in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. The three top photographs earned cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.

Approximately 50 finalists appear in the exhibition.

Joshua Avowing by NICHOLAS DANTONA (Franklin, Tenn.)
“Perhaps the greatest way to advocate for environmental protection is to communicate the beauty and emotional impact of the grandeur and wonder of nature,” says Dantona, a fine-art photographer whose work is collected by Tennessee State Museum, Cumberland Heights Foundation, Indigo Hotel, and others. “I make photographs that attempt spiritual depth and meaning, challenging an age of scientific materialism, nihilism, and spiritual bankruptcy. I make photographs as a quest for authenticity and a plea for the rediscovery of connection.”

FIRST PRIZE:
Meeting our Needs by MAUREEN RUDDY BURKHART (Longmont, Colo.)
This photo was taken in Inner Mongolia, China, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, near the old city of Erdos. The photographer holds a bachelor of fine art degree from San Francisco Art Institute and was recently invited to China to exhibit a portfolio of contemplative landscapes.

SECOND PRIZE:
Undulating Hills Near Wahoo, Nebraska by JOHN GRIEBSCH (Pultneyville, N.Y.)
A pilot and aerial photographer, Griebsch captures landscape images that depict natural and artificial landforms. He shoots from his vintage Cessna 170, in which he has logged more than 100,000 miles. “My aerial photographs present a sense of selective design applied to an extremely small but significant area of the vast landscape over which I fly,” he says, referring to his Aerias series, which consists of 250 images. “I find the need to make geographical sense of the Earth, as well as the need to make visual sense of a photograph. I work with ambiguity of scale, the strong graphic quality of nature, and the hand of man upon nature.”

THIRD PRIZE:

Old Truck in Brittlebush by GARY DOROTHY (Palm Springs)
“The bold shapes and relative permanence of an old truck remind us of the hills and mountains,” says Dorothy, a prolific shooter of Palm Springs and the Southern California desert. “[The truck’s] windows showcase a profusion of brittlebush flowers. In the end, long after the truck has rusted away, the golden blossoms will probably return each spring.” The photographer exhibits his work at Imageville, located at 128 La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs.
 

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