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Art of Photography hits SoCal

200605bc_artophotogburma This spring, San Diego boasts more than nice scenery. The 2006 “Art of Photography Show” was culled from 9,535 images submitted by 2,700 artists around the world, in the largest art competition in the city’s history. Arthur Ollman, director of the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, was charged with choosing the 100 best images for an exclusive presentation. He actually picked 104, for a collection that thrills event organizers.

Caption (right): "Suspended, Burma 2005," Monica Denevan, 1st Place

There were no categories for the exhibition. Instead, organizers asked artists to submit images that excited them. The only guiding principle was the exhibition’s theme and the title of the show, the “Art of Photography.”


Caption (above): "Nan on Porch," Craig Johnson, Honorable Mention


Caption (above): "Sideshow — Greed," Wayne Schoenfeld, Honorable Mention

“I think we have put together a stunning body of work,” says Art of Photography curator Steven Churchill. “People are going to be impressed by the volume and quality of the images.

“One of the key things we were looking for was originality,” Churchill continues. “We had some images that were very, very good, but they were similar to other things we had seen. Arthur was often looking for more subtleties and nuances within certain photographs, smaller things that helped tell a story. If something was the slightest bit contrived or gimmicky, it got passed over. He preferred images where the essence was in the initial image, not in effects put in by Photoshop.”

During the show’s reception in April, special awards were presented to the artists, including more than $3,000 in cash prizes for top entries. The exhibition runs through June 4 in the two-story gallery in the Lyceum Theatre, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. For more information, visit

—Jeff Kent


Caption (above): "Heriberto, Steelworker," Ken Merfeld, Honorable Mention