The Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a division of Ringling College of Art and Design, today announced the winners of the 'Sticks and Clicks' photography competition. Created as part of SMOA's 2013 "ARTmuse" program, 'Sticks and Clicks' challenged photographers in professional, amateur and student classifications to shoot and submit creative images of renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty's recently completed Stickworks installation, 'Out in Front'.
'Out in Front' was built by Patrick Dougherty and scores of enthusiastic volunteers on the front lawn of historic Sarasota High School - the future home of SMOA - during the last three weeks of January 2013 and the 'Sticks and Clicks' photo competition ran from January 7 to February 13, 2013.
SMOA president Wendy G. Surkis said, "From start to finish, 'Sticks and Click's has proven to be a model for art and community engagement. Over a hundred tireless volunteers helped Patrick build 'Out in Front', there were more than 460 contest photo submissions and the images have been viewed thousands of times. The contest inspired professional to aspiring photographers to go and look at Patrick's creation - really look at it - as they composed their images. And we are very proud of the images they have captured. I thank 'Sticks and Clicks' chair Kristine Bundrant and her committee for their inspiration in creating and driving this competition and the attention the community has given us."
Competition judges were professional photographers Herb Booth and Dick Dickinson and Ringling College of Art and Design Digital Imaging instructor Anju Kulkarni. For the $1,000 grand prize winner they chose Ricky Perrone's 'Silent Village' entry from the amateur category.
Mr. Perrone said, "I'm incredibly excited to have won the SMOA Sticks and Clicks photo contest. I originally only had two semesters of photography in high school but I loved the process and the time in the dark room manipulating my images. About a year ago I returned to photography when I bought my first DSLR to take photos for my family's business, Perrone Construction."
"I knew I wanted to do a night shot of the sculptures," Perrone continued, "as they are very whimsical and I thought if I could achieve the right lighting the outcome could be very interesting. My images tend to be dark and dynamic incorporating extremely dark shadows and bright high lights. To get the lighting I wanted I had to cover the high discharge sodium lamps that were illuminating the sculpture with moving blankets because that light was far too harsh. I used a Canon 5D Mark 3 and a 17-40mm lens set to 17mm aperture of f8 for deeper depth of field and a shutter speed of 18 seconds, ISO was kept at 100. The photos were shot RAW and processed in Photoshop. The biggest challenge I had was focusing the camera, it was so dark it really came down to a little trial and error."
"The competition itself was great and I especially enjoyed seeing some of the younger kids win prizes for their photos. It feels a little surreal to have such accomplished photographers as Dick Dickinson, Herb Booth and Anju Kulkarni choose my image for the grand prize. My friends and family have always been very supportive and encouraging but to have these three judges validate my work this way feels incredible, I am so grateful for this experience," concluded Perrone.
'Sticks and Clicks' chair Kristine Bundrant was also a sponsor, in addition to Robert Antovel of Art & Frame of Sarasota, Herb Booth, Dick Dickinson and the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota, which donated the student awards. The winners were awarded their prizes in a ceremony on February 24th at the site of the sculpture. According to Kristine, "While it was wonderful to see the excitement of all the prize winners, it was the student awards that really proved the most moving. For most of the ten year olds it was the first time they had the opportunity to enter a contest, and winning an award proved to be an amazing new experience for many of them. The parents were most appreciative that SMOA opened this up so that their children could participate."