Once a year, the communities in Pike County, Georgia become the center of the universe for Southern fine art photography.
Suddenly, renovated warehouses and storefronts become art galleries, stuffed with photographs and photographers.
Photographers and photography fans from across the South, and across the nation, flock to see the work, and to renew friendships, and meet new friends.
This all happens because of SlowExposures, the annual festival of Southern photography, which took place this year in Pike County, on September the 14th through the 17th, 2017.
Arnika Dawkins and I had the privilege of jurying this year's Main Show at SlowExposures.
We started with over 850 images, with the challenge of getting the collection of images down to 75.
The overall quality of the images submitted was very high. We could easily have chosen a show double the size of the one we had to choose without diminishing the overall quality of the show.
As I said at the Jurors' Talk in Concord, I wanted at a minimum to have our show reflect the breadth and diversity of Southern rural and small town life. I wanted, at a minimum, to avoid overworked subjects and sentimental or nostalgic treatments.
Arnika had her own goals and interests, but we must have shared a good bit of common ground, because the process of making our choices for the Main Show proceeded with remarkable smoothness.
When Arnika and I got to Strickland's in Concord, site of the Main Show at SlowEx, on the morning of the 14th, we had the challenge of selecting the top images out of our final 76 selections for the Man Show.
This was even more difficult than making our original selections. But,gradually, as we discussed our choices, Brandon Thibodeaux's image Choo Choo with his Bible (see first image above) emerged as our first place entry, receiving the Paul Conlan Prize.
Second place went to M. L. Miller's Window Gazers (see image just above).
Third Place went to Dale Niles' image Pardon? (see image above), which also received the People's Choice Award, based on voting by guests at the show.
We also chose ten Honorable Mentions, and you can see their work if you go here to the SlowEx website.
There was so much else going on in Pike County that weekend -- the satellite shows, and the pop-up shows, and the receptions and dinners.
Watch for more coverage of this year's SlowEx as time goes by, here, on The Southern Photographer!