The Naples Art Association opened its first national photography competition exhibition titled Camera USA on Friday, May 13 with a preview reception and awards presentation. Photographers from 24 different states entered the competition, and their work was juried by internationally-acclaimed photojournalist, Harry Benson.
A black and white photograph by David Wensel of Geneva, Illinois was selected by Benson as the top image.
The work titled Resting Fiona features a curly-haired white dog resting on a wrinkled white comforter. “Besides the obvious attributes of being well-composed and having an interesting textural quality, it was an amusing and intelligent photograph,” said Benson. “It was straightforward and immediately caught my eye and stopped me from flipping through the entries. A good photograph to me is one you stop and look at before turning the page.”
In front of a crowd of over 300 people at The von Liebig Art Center, Wensel was awarded a check for $5,000 in addition to receiving a hotel accommodations and airfare to Naples, FL.
Wensel didn’t actually enter the winning image himself. Instead a long-time friend did, hoping to validate Wensel’s talent. In speaking of the submission, Wensel said, “While I trusted her eye completely, I thought she was just being a good friend by letting me know that she thought highly enough of my photos to enter one into a competition. The surprise of winning didn’t hit me until I had done my own, more in-depth reading about Mr. Benson’s fame,” Wensel went on to say. “I was really gratified that others and someone as eminent of Mr. Benson thought well of it too.”
The Camera USA exhibition remains on display at The von Liebig Art Center through August 27. The von Liebig is located at 585 Park Street in Naples and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free for Naples Art Association members and $5 for non-members.
Camera USA and the $5,000 grand prize award are generously sponsored by Physicians Regional Healthcare System, City Mattress, Publix Super Markets Charities, Naples Daily News, Susan H. Earl and an anonymous donor.
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The Naples Art Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1954. Its primary goals are to educate and promote visual arts in Southwest Florida by holding exhibitions, art festivals and educational classes for adults and children. Today the organization boasts over 1,000 members and operates The von Liebig Art Center located at 585 Park Street in downtown Naples. The art center is open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. For more information, please call (239) 262-6517, visit naplesart.org. You may also follow them on facebook at facebook.com/vonliebigcenter or twitter at twitter.com/vonliebigart.