The Duncan Banner
There are breathtaking views of a river valley, sunlight looks into old barns and warehouses and up-close looks of an old man’s praying hands and the eyes of a grasshopper.
The photographs on display at the second annual Duncan Arts Guild “Life Through the Lens” photography show at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center take you to all those places and more, and give Duncan another notch as a small city with a flair for the arts.
“I have people from all over, especially from the Santa Fe and Taos (New Mexico) area, tell us that Duncan is better than some areas out there,” Janice Kirksey, chairwoman of the photography show, said during its opening reception Friday night.
More than 70 people took in the display at the Fair & Expo Center that night. The show continued Saturday and the photos can still be viewed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.
Twenty-two photographers entered a combined 81 photographs in three categories – “Landscapes and Still Life,” “People and Portraits” and “Animals and Pets.” The photographers are from Duncan, other Oklahoma cities and towns and one from Crowley, Texas.
Cash prizes were awarded for first, second and third places in each category and for Best of Show, as judged by two members of the Lawton Photography Guild. People who attended Friday also voted for the People’s Choice Award.
Pattie Calfy of Walters won first place in the landscape/still life category – and overall Best of Show – for her photograph entitled “Cross of Nails.” It shows rusty nails fanning out in the shape of a cross on a textured background of gray tones. She had the image printed on metal. It was one of three images entered that were printed on metal. The other two were by The Banner’s own Toni Hopper and were close-ups of old train boxcars, with rich saturated colors.
Calfy took the photograph a couple of years ago in a garage that serves as her studio. She’s been shooting pictures since 1987 and has entered works at art shows in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, among other places.
“I don’t make a living at it but I do sell some on the Internet,” said Calfy, who has taught photography classes at the Great Plains Technical Center in Lawton. “I don’t do weddings or things like that. I do mostly what I want to.”
The judging criteria included visual impact, composition, technique and creativity.
The judges said “Cross of Nails” was a “wow image that grabs attention with a dramatic presentation and compositional elements and color harmony.”
Calfy also took second place in the people category for “Faithful Hands” — a black-and-white photograph of an elderly man’s hands clasped in prayer — and second place in animals for “Sitting Pretty,” an up-close shot of a grasshopper on a purple flower. Calfy printed the hands portrait on a pearl paper from her home studio.
Duncan resident Debbie Duggar, who has only been taking photographs on a serious basis for three years, won first place in animals for “You Old Goat,” which shows a goat resting its head against the base of a red, wooden building.
She also won second in the landscape category for her photograph of a river winding through a valley in Yellowstone National Park. Duggar’s landscape was an HDR composite which brings out the tiniest of details.
Debra McKinnon of Duncan won first place in the people category for “The Hostess,” showing a young woman in a lace dress and red-flower fascinator hair piece.
Sherry Szarka of Duncan won the People’s Choice award for “A Sticky Situation,” a close-up of a cactus and flower. Third place ribbons went to Carolyn Pettijohn in landscape for “Hazy Daisy,” Pam Jackson in animals for “Birds in Flight” and Robin Emerson in people for “Farewell to Youth.” Didn’t get their hometowns.
Kirksey said good photographers have a good eye for composition and contrasts in light, but the digital cameras of today can make them better because they do much of the focusing and other work on their own.
“I think it has helped the person who is just starting out see better results immediately, which I think sparks more enthusiasm for photography,” she said.