Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe: Awards handed out in creature-filled galleries

Russell Kinerson’s “Borneo Eared Tree Frog” won first place in the juried exhibition “All Creatures Great and Small,” now on display at artCentral in Carthage.Courtesy | Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe

They’re here! They’re here! They’re everywhere! Images of creatures great and small adorn the gallery walls of Hyde House downstairs and upstairs too. You really must come see them!

They are surprising and enticing, sweet and fierce, furry and feathered, scaled and shelled. They are all enchanting companions for us who walk this good earth and look skyward. They will call you to reverence. They will cause you to know joy. They will touch your heart and lift your soul. Each and everyone is exquisite. Who knows better than Kerry Sturgis, the juror for this amazing exhibition featuring 66 photographs created by 16 members of the Four State Photography Enthusiasts?

Sturgis, artCentral board member and dedicated outdoorsman, has been an avid photographer and student of photography for more than four decades. He is a graduate of the U.S. Department of Defense Information School, where he was trained as a military journalist and photojournalist. His work has appeared in a variety of military and non-military newspapers and magazines over the years. His most recent body of work includes macro, travel and street photography as well as industrial photography involving large machinery and structures.

For many years, Sturgis made a serious study of fine art black-and-white photography and printing and maintained a black-and-white darkroom.

All that ended with the development of digital photography.

He was an early adopter of digital cameras and photo processing software. Sturgis has made a lifelong effort to track down and view the work of the master photographers in galleries and museums everywhere.

We are honored to have him make his carefully chosen award selections for “All Creatures Great and Small.” He used four criteria in making his choices: impact of presentation, composition of elements, technical achievement and reflection of the exhibit’s theme.

Here are the winners:

• First place — Russell Kinerson’s “Borneo Eared Tree Frog” features “a unique and interesting subject and just the right lighting. The diagonal composition implies action that immediately calls for the viewer’s attention. The green leaf background accentuates the color of the plant and the animal without distracting the viewer. The body posture and facial expression of this Borneo eared tree frog engagingly captures a unique moment in time. From a distance this high impact image appears somewhat like a painting.”

• Second place — Linda Wilson’s “Shadows” has “many unique features with a dragonfly projecting the dragonfly’s shadow on a plant. The unusual and eye-pleasing mix of colors in the plant and the dragonfly immediately catch the eye and draw the viewer into the image. The depth-of-focus allows us to see anatomical features of the insect and appreciate the beauty of the creature and the delicate shadow cast on the plant. The lighting levels are good and the color saturations just right.”

• Third place — “King of the Jungle” by Susan Gettys “features a male lion in a meadow as seen during the golden light of late afternoon. This is an image with good depth-of-field and selective focus showing individual hairs in the mane and the fur in the low angle sunlight. The animal’s eyes are captured very clearly and allow us a glimpse into the essence of the beast. The background is pleasant and augments the image without distracting the viewer.”

• Honorable mention — Robert Mossack’s, “Contemplative Pug” is a “close-up portrait of a favorite dog with much to recommend. The studio lighting and sharp focus clearly show each strand of hair and skin wrinkle. The animal’s eyes are looking towards the camera allowing the viewer to see the dog’s face and expression with exceptional clarity. This emotionally engaging photo displays the personality of this handsome dog.”

• Honorable mention — “Sharing the Pad” by Koral Martin “shows a butterfly and a bee landing on a coneflower together. This image ranks high in technical prowess. The focus is sharp, even with live insects in constant motion as subjects. Photography of this sort requires persistence and the patience to keep observing and photographing the subject until the decisive moment appears. The colors are intense and reflect the beauty of the flowers and insects in the micro-environments we often take for granted.”

• Honorable mention — Bob Essner’s, “Bambi” monochrome image of a fawn captures the animal in an interesting and animated posture in a natural habitat. The focus is sharp and the animal’s eyes face the camera, allowing the viewer an insight into the nature of this beautiful creature. The choice of black-and-white toning rather than color and the slight vignetting around the photo’s edges draw the viewer into the image.

“All Creatures Great and Small,” generously underwritten by Central Pet Care, will be on display throughout all artCentral galleries, 1110 E. 13th St. in Carthage, during weekend gallery hours through Sunday, Sept. 22. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe is the executive director-curator of artCentral at the Hyde House in Carthage.

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