Annual Photo Competition Celebrates Appalachia

By Jillian Randel

Category Winner from the 2009 AMPC- Blue Ridge Parkway Vista—Leave Only Footprints by Dale King; Flora & Fauna

Three men pushing a Christmas tree bailer, a single set of footprints on a snowy highway, morning shadows over the Blue Ridge Mountains… how can one capture the essence of Appalachian life in a frame?

That’s the challenge of the 8th annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition, which is accepting submissions now through December 17, 2010. The competition encourages amateur and professional photographers nationwide to highlight some of Appalachia’s most distinguishing features through frame.

For its second year in a row, Appalachian Voices is sponsoring the category titled “Our Ecological Footprint.” This subject encourages photographers to snapshot human behaviors and habits that negatively affect the earth. Capturing images of this kind is not always easy and offers a unique challenge for photographers.

Category winner from the 2009 AMPC-Windswept Grasses in Craggy Gardens by Bill Gozansky; Our Ecological Footprint

“Photographs of the incredible beauty and mystery of Appalachia are always appreciated,” said Willa Mays, Executive Director of Appalachia Voices. “When juxtaposed against those that tell the very real story of the devastation of Appalachian communities and threats to our amazing forests, a real sense of urgency for change can emerge.”

The other six categories for the competition include Adventure; Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas; Blue Ridge Parkway Share the Journey ®; Culture; Flora and Fauna; and Landscape. The Blue Ridge Parkway Share the Journey changing category this year is The Parkway Tree Project. This category encourages photographers to snapshot noteworthy trees along the Parkway that create the diverse and unique character of the Appalachian region. Photographers are asked to identify the species of tree and record its exact location on the Parkway.

Category Winner from the 2009 AMPC- Coal Fly Ash Sludge Disaster by Jerry D. Greer

“As we celebrate the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Southern Appalachians, we feel a responsibility to also highlight threats to that heritage,” said Andrew Miller, coordinator of Appalachia State University’s Outdoor Programs and organizer of the Appalachia Mountain Photography Competition. “We hope to highlight the imagery of photographers and activists capturing the cultural and environmental degradation happening in the Appalachians and support the advocacy efforts of Appalachian Voices.”

Judges will narrow down the competition to 46 photographs which will hang in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, N.C. from Feb. 4 through June 4, 2011. Finalists will receive $4,000 in cash and prizes and a portion of the proceeds will go to support Outdoor Programs Student Outdoor Learning Expeditions at Appalachian State.

The competition runs until 5:00 P.M. on December 17, 2010. Applicants must be age 13 and up. Please submit photos to

The Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition is a partnership between Outdoor Programs and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. AMPC is made possible through the sponsorship of Virtual Blue Ridge, the premier online resource for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Support for the AMPC is provided by Appalachian Voices, Bistro Roca Inventive American Cuisine, Footsloggers Outdoor and Travel Outfitters, Mast General Store, Peabody’s Merchants of Fine Beer and Wine, and Smoky Mountain Living Magazine.

A pelican beach sculpture by artist Dan Smith spreads its wings in Pensacola, Fla., just weeks after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Smith, a finalist in the 2009 Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition, is currently exhibiting a collection of historically inspired installation pieces entitled MANInfested Destiny: From Boone to Boon, at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, N.C. The show incorporates thematic photographs, paintings and natural and manmade objects based on Daniel Boone’s life. The exhibit will be on display through Nov. 5. On Saturdays through Oct. 2, Smith will lead walks from the Turchin Center gallery to locations featured in his work documenting the historical Daniel Boone.


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