Statewide photo exhibit comes to Eccles Community Art Center in Ogden

Friday , February 17, 2017 - 5:00 AM1 comment

MARK SAAL, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — These days, everybody’s a photographer.

Technology being what it is, most of us carry a fairly powerful camera with us at all times. Our smartphones usually have a surprisingly impressive digital camera onboard, making it easy to photograph everything from birthday parties to sunsets.

Pat Poce is executive director of the Eccles Community Art Center, which organizes an annual photographic competition. He says the art center is seeing some new faces in photography in Northern Utah, and some of that might have to do with today’s smartphone technology.

“People are so into photography,” he said. “Everyone’s got some type of camera on their person, and that really does help.”

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The Statewide Photographic Competition, featuring both color and black-and-white stills by artists from throughout Northern Utah, is on display at the Eccles Community Art Center, 2580 Jefferson Ave. The exhibit will continue through March 25.

This year’s show drew 92 works of photography, created by 49 Utah-based photographers.

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Poce said the number of entries was actually a bit lower this year — the competition often draws as many as 250 entries — but he wonders if maybe the lower numbers have something to do with the abundance of snow this winter.

Still: “I think the quality of the show gets better every year,” he said. “We’re seeing lots of different types of photography, and a real rise in the quality.”

Poce also likes that the center was able to display all of the works that were entered in this year’s competition.

“It was a nice selection of entries,” he said. “It’s a good thing to have everybody’s entry get into the show.”

The $300 Best of Show Award went to A. Steven Cain, of Ogden, for his photograph “The Icelanders Are Coming.” Cain also won an honorable mention for his piece “Irrawaddy Twilight.” Artists were invited to enter up to two works each in the competition.

“This piece is stunning,” Poce said of Cain’s Best of Show photograph, which shows a line of running horses. “And the amazing thing about the piece is that all five of the horses’ heads are raised up at the same time. It’s truly a lovely piece.”

Four other artists also received honorable mention awards of $100 each, including Daniel T. Bauer, of Ogden, for “Brush Strokes”; Jessica Hollon, of Ogden, for “Hydrotherapy at Alcatraz”; Ron Kusina, of North Ogden, for “Grey Ghost”; and Ryan Smith, of Taylor, for “Tempest.”

In addition, the Paul W. Muller Memorial Award was presented to Jim Stettler, of Ogden, for “Lonely Nest.”

Student Recognition Awards went to Cambree Johnson, of Clearfield, for “The Two Tunnels”; and Emily Ohman, of Salt Lake City, for “Sparks Will Fly.” The student awards included a $25 cash prize and a membership to the art center.

Poce said the art center no longer offers purchase awards at its statewide competition.

“We stopped doing purchase awards,” he said. “Our collection has gotten so big, we just don’t have the space to store it all.”

Alan Gibby, a professional photographer in Ogden, juried this year’s show.

“It was a very good show — better than I’ve seen in a long time,” Gibby said in a phone interview. “I was excited and honored to jury this show.”

In a letter provided to the art center, Gibby wrote that he was impressed with the “caliber of entries and the obvious effort and artistic thought that went into each photograph.”

Gibby, who has juried national shows, says he uses five factors in judging photography: message, lighting, composition, presentation and impact.

Poce says he looks forward to a growing photography scene in Ogden.

“We just hope it continues to grow,” he said. “And each year we expand on it. We want to make sure photography remains a part of the arts.”

In conjunction with the Statewide Photographic Competition, the adjacent Carriage House Sales Gallery is featuring art by Jennifer Sorenson and the students who attend her open studio at the art center.

Hours for the Eccles Community Art Center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free.

For more information, call 801-392-6935.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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