A photography exhibit at this year’s Iowa State Fair is a tribute to Ansel Adams, one of the world’s most famous photographers. All the photos are in black and white. Charley Starnes, the superintendent of the State Fair’s photo salon, choose the theme to challenge contestants to create photography, not snapshots.
“When you strip away the color — when you take away all the pretty colors that we’re used to seeing — you’re left with the very heart and soul of that image,” Starnes says.
Nearly 4,000 pictures were submitted, then a panel of judges narrowed down the display to 841 photographs, from about 500 different photographers. “We’re looking for the subtleties and the tonal range of the scene and you’ll actually see more of the image with black and white than you’ll ever see with color,” Starnes says.
Kelli Lydon of Des Moines has a digital camera, but she entered a photo taken on another camera — one loaded with film. “This is sort of my way to capture what I see in the world,” Lydon says. Her black and white photo of an alley in downtown Chicago didn’t win an award, but it was picked to be on display on the third floor of the State Fair’s Cultural Center.
This the 75th year for the Iowa State Fair’s Photography Salon. It has become one of the largest print photography competitions in the country. Chris Smith — a photographer from Deerfield, Illinois, who is a high school physics teacher — won the “best of show” award.