Photo contributed by John Guider
John Guider, a photographer from Nashville, Tenn., appears in a self-portrait submitted to the Yeiser Art Center. This year's jury for Paducah 2013 consists of three photographers representing different countries, which organizers say will add a breadth of perspective to the jurying process.
Photo contributed by Nathalie Daoust
Nathalie Daoust, a Canadian photographer, shoots a subject in this self-portrait. Daoust has worked in Tokyo, New York, and Berlin, and will be the third member of the Paducah Photo 2013 jury.
Photo contributed by Laura El-Tantawy
Laura El-Tantawy, an Egyptian photographer, appears in a self-portrait. El-Tantawy has a background in photojournalism, and said she will be looking for strong composition, use of light and emotion when she judges the photographs for Paducah Photo 2013.
Todd Birdsong remembers the early days of the Paducah Photo competition.
“There were some lean years there,” said Birdsong, who participated in the show and now serves on the Paducah Photo committee.
The annual exhibition had not found a permanent home, and organizers — Birdsong among them — relied on fliers and the mail to get the word out and receive entries.
Since then, the 38-year-old exhibition has seen major changes, including rebranding and adoption by the Yeiser Art Center. Organizers took the show online in 2010, which brought an explosion of national and international entries, Birdsong said.
The show will take another step forward this year with the addition of an international three-member jury.
While the exhibition has been receiving international submissions for years, the jurors always hailed from the region. Paducah Photo committee members knew they’d have to make a change in the judging process if they wanted the show to be truly international.
“The work has been really eclectic and representative of an international audience, but the jurying really hasn’t risen to that level,” said John Paul Henry, a photographer and administrative assistant at the Yeiser.
For Paducah Photo 2013, the committee invited photographers John Guider from Nashville, Tenn.; Nathalie Daoust, a Canadian artist who has worked in Tokyo and Berlin, and Laura El-Tantawy of Egypt to remotely judge the show.
Organizers expect the three jurors to bring a wider range of perspective to the judging process.
“We feel like we’re pulling influences representative of three distinct and powerful genre groups within photography,” Henry said.
Guider has a strong background in landscape and nature photography, Henry said, while Daoust focuses on the conceptual realm. El-Tantawy studied journalism and political science and began her career as a photojournalist.
The addition of an international jury could also build the reputation of Paducah Photo.
“Bringing an international perspective is a good way to draw attention to this particular contest and its participants,” El-Tantawy said.
The jurors will award up to $2,000 in cash to the winners of Paducah Photo. Photographers who live in McCracken, Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, Livingston, Calloway or Trigg counties in Kentucky, as well as Massac, Pulaski, or Pope in southern Illinois, will automatically be eligible for the Regional Showcase if not accepted into Paducah Photo. The Regional Showcase will run at Maiden Alley Cinema in tandem with the exhibition at the Yeiser Art Center.
The deadline for entries is May 1, and there is a $10 entry fee. Photos may be entered by visiting paducahphoto.com.
Accepted artists will be notified by May 15, and the show will open to the public at 5 p.m. on June 22.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641 or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.