For a varied look at new photography work, visit the Lodi Community Art Center this month for the 2014 Photography Show.
It’s the second year of the show, according to chairwoman Barbara Gillespie. This year, in addition to cash prizes, winners took home hundreds of dollars in donated photography swag. Prizes included editing software, camera bags and straps.
Entries came in three categories: Faces, Man Made and landscape.
“We left it pretty vague on purpose,” said Gillespie. “We’re in the infancy of our show, and we’re still growing, so the categories are open wide.”
From 292 images, a team of three jurors spent hours narrowing down the selection through an online entry system until fewer than 150 remained. Those photos will hang in the art center for the month of February, and are available for sale.
“Then, the arm wrestling began. They have to agree,” said Gillespie.
The jurors selected a first, second and third place winner in each category, along with a number of honorable mentions. Out of the three first place winners, the jurors then picked a best of show.
“It’s not about the biggest photo, or the nicest framed,” said Gillespie. “Some are beautifully framed, others are huge prints and one came in printed on metal. But it’s all about the image.”
Many entries came from Northern California, though one was sent in from an artist in Missouri. Nearly every entry was digital.
The photographers themselves are a varied bunch, ranging in age from late 20s to early 60s.
Connie Cassinetto won first place in the Man Made category for “All Hung Up.” Greg Starnes took first in Landscapes for “Mystic Light.” Dan Evans, News-Sentinel chief photographer, took first place in the Faces category for “In the Harvest,” and won best of show for “Rat Rock” in Landscapes.
First place winners earned $625 in cash and prizes. Second place winners took $400, while third place winners took $250.
But for the month of February, gallery visitors can vote on a final prize. The People’s Choice winner will go home with $300 in prizes.
“I’m just pleased as punch with the results,” said Gillespie. “It’s quite a show all hung up.”
Capturing a mystic desert light
Greg Starnes of Danville won first place for a landscape photo called “Mystic Light.” It was taken in upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona on a Navajo reservation. Starnes was visiting the canyon in Sept. 2012, and was stunned by how beams of light moved through the narrow canyons.
“You only get these beams for five to 15 minutes a day, due to the light passing through the narrow slots,” said Starnes. “I was fascinated by the unique, mystical feeling.”
This image is his favorite of the canyon series, and hangs over Starnes’ fireplace at home.
For Starnes, photography relieves stress from his job as an engineer. He grew up with a darkroom in his house, due to his mother and sister’s interest in film photography. But in the past five years, Starnes got serious about digital work.
“I’ve let photography become my creative outlet and it’s been wonderful. It’s refreshing to see what I’m able to do that I never thought an engineer can do,” he said.
Documenting a moment
Dan Evans of Walnut Creek won first place in the Faces category with a photo called “In the Harvest.”
As a 10-year photojournalist for the News-Sentinel, Evans has photographed harvests for years. He was driving into Lodi early one morning when he saw a group of workers harvesting asparagus along Highway 12.
“I pulled over, walked into the field, and started shooting,” he said. Windy conditions made the dusty peat soil look like fog through the lens. This shot was picked from the series because of the clean look at the workers face, hands and tools with no distractions in the background.
Evans also won Best of Show for a photo titled “Rat Rock” in Landscapes. The rock is a little island in the middle of the bay in China Camp State Park near San Rafael. Evans used neutral density filters made of very dark glass to create a long exposure effect on the photo. Instead of an exposure lasting a fraction of a second, this one lasted nearly five and a half minutes.
“That’s how you get the smooth water and the clouds that just kind of float by,” said Evans.
The day he got the call that he had won Best of Show, Evans remembers wondering if he would even place.
“I was really happy that I won something. You never know. What I think is great, the judges might not connect to,” he said.
Seeking an unusual scene
Connie Cassinetto of Sonora discovered her winning image, “All Hung Up,” while exploring Preston Castle in Ione with a troop of 150 photographers.
Other photographers had left props behind, including a bare mattress spring and a dressmaker’s dummy. She took the photo and added filters and changes through one of her favorite editing programs at home.
“It was so weird to see a mattress with a dummy in it in this dilapidated old building. I knew it was something I could work with,” she said of her entry for the Man Made category.
“What I had in mind is that we’re all hung up and time’s passing.”
Cassinetto has been taking photographs for three years and has taken courses to improve her skills. She prefers to shoot landscapes, but she’s working on improving her portraits and live shots.
For her, entering photography shows is about joining a world of creativity.
“I never think I’ll win. It’s not that I entered to win. I love photography, I love being a part of it,” she said.