ALLIE DOUGLASS | The Sun
Michael Crouse, former director at Yeiser Art Center in Paducah and Elise Beattie hang photographs on Tuesday for the upcoming 2012 Paducah Photo. The reception for the event is Saturday at 5 pm, awards will be given out at 6.
Bob Shapiro has been involved with the Paducah Photo contest at the Yeiser Art Center since it was the Paducah Summer Festival Photo Contest. He remembers when people had to print, frame, matte and ship their submissions to be judged. Now, all it takes is a click of a button.
“You don’t have to be a darkroom technician now,” said Shapiro, who serves as chairman for the event this year. “Things used to be laborious and tedious. Digitalizing the process opened the door for people to be more creative.”
The numbers alone show how much the Paducah Photo contest has grown. This year’s contest received 584 photographs representing 14 countries and 30 U.S. states from 187 photographers. For the exhibition, 110 photographs from 86 photographers representing nine countries — including Australia, England, Israel, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom — were chosen.
This year, the exhibition also includes a regional component. Along with the main show, at the Yeiser, Maiden Alley Cinema will host a regional showcase for photographers from western Kentucky and southern Illinois. Photos from the area went through the jury process, and those that weren’t chosen for the Paducah Photo show were judged for the regional showcase.
“When you are getting submissions from all over the world, there is so much good work that may not make it into the exhibition,” Shapiro said. “This started as a regional show and we wanted to keep room for people who have been submitting work.”
For 2012 — the 37th year of the competition — Shapiro said the submissions have only gotten better. Juror Ellen Simak saw a wide range of digital and film photography, including color and black and white photography, photographic book arts, and photographic alternative processes.
The Yeiser awards $2,000 to winners of the first, second, third places and two honorable mention awards. Winners of the regional showcase prizes — which awards first, second and third place along with six honorable mentions — will have combined winnings of $500.
“This is a very strong show, perhaps one of the best we have had yet,” Shapiro said. “Every year the quality improves, and this year simply stands out.”
Call Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.