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The Poetry of the Ordinary

Deadline for submissions: Oct 17, 2022
Prints due: Nov 16, 2022
Exhibition: November 30 - December 22, 2022

Prints of most of these images are available for purchase. Please inquire.
All photographs are the copyright of the individual artists and may not be reproduced without their permission.

Juror's Statement

I love judging these contests. It's great to see the work and always amazing when it's so flipping good. It really is. And there was a lot to see!

On the other hand, I hate judging because I remember entering many contests where my work was rejected and how that made me feel. Not good. And I hate making some people feel bad. Rest assured I could have chosen hundreds of images if space allowed. We're down to less than a hundred. A small group.

Also consider this is the opinion of one juror. Another juror would probably have made totally different choices. So be it. I was chosen to be The Decider and I will own it. But please don't hate me if you didn't get it.

One thing that stood out to me is how many landscape and still life images there were. I'm mostly a portrait photographer, though I appreciate all kinds of work. But there were remarkably few portraits in this collection. That's neither good nor bad, just surprising to me.

I was looking for good pictures, that's all. They needed to be technically good, preferably excellent. But they also needed to be well framed and carefully seen. For example, I saw many pictures that were good, but could have been much better with tighter composition. Get a little closer. Crop off an edge. Move the main subject a little to the left or right or top or bottom.

The top prizes went to a photograph of a tender moment with a mother, I think, caring for her daughter. She is dressing her carefully for a very special time. I always think the subject is the main thing that makes a picture. And this is a subject dear to so many people's hearts, mother and daughter. Corny? If so, it's me that's the cornball. The photographer didn't fluff it. Just showed it how it was.

The second top prize went to a photograph of a kid playing hopscotch. But the photographer was smart enough to know that the main thing about the photograph was the kid playing hopscotch, not what the kid looked like or even where he or she was. It's the moment of youth described very simply and very succinctly.

Well, good luck to all in your pursuits. It's wonderful to have a passion like photography. It's sustained me for about 50 years now. I hope something like that for you all.

            Henry Horenstein

About the Juror

Henry is professor of photography at RISD. He studied history at the University of Chicago and earned his BFA and MFA at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he studied with legends Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind.

Henry's work is collected and exhibited internationally and he has published over 30 books, including several monographs of his own work such as Honky Tonk, Histories, Show, Animalia, Humans, Racing Days, Close Relations, and many others. He has also authored Black & White Photography, Digital Photography, and Beyond Basic Photography, used by hundreds of thousands of college, university, high-school, and art school students as their introduction to photography. His Shoot What You Love serves both as a memoir and a personal history of photography over the past 50 years. His latest monograph, Speedway1972 was just published by Stanley/Barker.

In recent years, Henry has been making films: Preacher, Murray, Spoke, Partners, and Blitto Underground. He is currently in production on Where Everybody is Somebody, a film about Cajun Louisiana.

See his work at


Call for Entries

“Joy comes to us in moments — ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary."      —Brené Brown

As photographers, we have developed skill in seeing beneath the surface of our subjects, and often find in them the beauty, poignancy, and poetry that exist in ordinary moments. For this exhibition, we seek the simple poetic elegance of the ordinary. All captures and processes are welcome.

We are honored that Henry Horenstein will be the curator for The Poetry of the Ordinary. He will select up to 35 images for exhibition in our Middlebury, Vermont gallery and another 40 images for our Online Gallery. All 75 images will be reproduced in the exhibition catalog and remain permanently on our website, with links to photographer’s URL. See bio below.

Information about our printing service and free matting and framing here.

Banner image: Eileen Busby
Home page thumbnail:  Deb Dawson

Click image below to enlarge

Georg Krausch web
Georg Krausch
CHR22848 43461 web
Daniel Christie
PHI82193 11752 web
Leah Phillips

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