SHOOT! Box Factory hosts photo contest

Published 10:47 am Friday, January 3, 2014

Art submitted to last year's SHOOT! Box Factory contest. (Submitted photo)

Art submitted to last year’s SHOOT! Box Factory contest. (Submitted photo)

Once the excitement of the holidays is over, winter can seem to last a long time in this part of the country, but this year, the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Mich. has a plan for that.

“We’re doing something a little bit different this year. We’re trying to make the entire month of January be about photography,” said Tom Tackett, chair of the Box Factory for the Arts gallery committee. “It’s a good way to pass the winter.”

To that end, The Box Factory is presenting its second annual all-photography competition and show, “SHOOT!” It is a competition that any photographer in the area can enter.

“We ended up getting close to 250 entries last year. That was real good. It was more than we expected,” Tackett said. “We got a good blend of photographs — from people who just wanted to show pictures of their grandkids all the way to more serious photographers.”

“The way that the rules are set up, you can modify the images however you want to —Photoshop, adding painting with brush strokes — however you want,” Tackett explained. “The only rule we have is that the image has to start in a camera. After that, you can do anything you want with it. And, by cameras, we also mean cell phones.”

Unlike many other gallery shows, “SHOOT!” is not juried. That means that there is no initial judging of entries to determine whether they are included in the exhibit.

“Here, people of all levels get their images hung in the gallery. That was very exciting last year. A lot of first-time artists were very tickled to have something of their own in a gallery,” Tackett said.

Last year’s winners included Ben Pancost for “Hurricane Sandy” in the Nature category, Jeff Heaton for “Columbine Shasam” in the Still Life category, Victor Garrison for “Stalker” in the Animals category, John Owen for “Days of Yore” and Rick Beckermeyer for “Life’s Story” in the People category.

The categories for this year’s competition have been modified slightly to include Still Life, Scenic, People, Animals and Abstract. The fee for entering up to two photos is $20 ($15 for Berrien Artist Guild members). Judging the competition will be Mark Ullom, a professional photographer who teaches at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich., and at the Academy of Art, San Francisco, Cal.

The Box Factory will be accepting registrations and entries  from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, Jan. 4 and Jan. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday  through Friday, Jan. 6-10, and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10. All of the rules, deadlines and specifications for the entries are listed on the Box Factory’s website at Further information can be obtained by calling (269) 983-3688.

“SHOOT!” will open on Jan. 17 with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and photographs will remain on exhibit through March 1.

“It’s a typical gallery opening, except that in the middle of this one, we’ll have an awards presentation. Last year, it turned out to be the biggest opening of the year. A lot of people came to the Box Factory that had never been here before,” Tackett said.

In addition to “SHOOT!” the Box Factory has several other photography-related events scheduled to take place in January.

To kick off the month, the film “Edward S. Curtis: Coming to Light” by Anne Makepeace will be shown at 7 p.m. as part of the First Friday Film Series. This PBS-produced film tells the story of the photographer who gained his fame by photographing native peoples of the Southwest. The film also gives indigenous people a voice in the discussion of Curtis’ images. Tickets are $5 per person.

In addition, from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 10, the Box Factory will host an “Ask us your photo question” session during the  extended drop-off hours for “SHOOT!”

“People are welcome at that time to come in and ask questions of several professional photographers there,” Tackett said.  “I like to think of it as being an opportunity for someone who just got a camera for Christmas to ask us questions. We’ll help with any questions anyone may have.”

Finally, on Jan. 31, the Box Factory will have a “Photo Show and Tell” from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Email us your pictures and we’ll show them and discuss them together. We’ll have a small panel of professional and semi-professional photographers on hand to lead discussion on the images sent in and other things of interest,” Tackett said.