From the humble chicken to the resplendent quetzal, birds have long played an important part in cultures across the world. Many birds serve as important mythological symbols—both good and bad. Others have inspired countless artists, played a key role in fashion, and of course, provided food. Some even became pets! In fact, birds are such a pervasive part of our shared cultural experience, that birdwatching has become a major leisure activity.
In recognition of their cultural significance, the Museum of the Red River is hosting its first juried photography competition, On the Wing. The contest was divided into two categories. The “natural world” division was for unaltered photos of birds being birds. Artists who wanted to enhance their photos beyond traditional means could enter images in a second category, “altered/mixed media”. The competition attracted over 100 digital submissions from eight different states.
Forty works of art by amateurs and professionals were selected for display by a panel of nature photographers and naturalists. Prizes were awarded based on the submitted print, not the original digital image. The head juror was Stephen G. Weaver, an award-winning photographer with over 40 years of experience. The panel also included Debra Jones, a Texas-based nature photographer, Ford Hendershot, McCurtain County’s naturalist-at-large, and Dennis Wilson, a US Forestry Service (OSU Extension) naturalist. The show will conclude with an artists‘ reception on May 20, from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Bird photography, especially wild bird photography, is quite challenging. Capturing the perfect moment requires a great deal of patience, a fair amount of ornithological knowledge, and a pinch of luck. As a result, these photos are not only a testament to the power of birds, but also the artists’ character and skill. [Pictured Above: I See You by Cory W. Berish (Boise, Idaho). Digital Print.]