Sophomore Hannah Rowland admires the display of the competition photos. Photo: Kathryn Hood

For the past 27 years, Pace Academy has decorated the back wall of the Fine Arts Center (FAC) with a colorful array of photographs through exhibitions held in collaboration with Atlanta Celebrates Photography. 

Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) is an organization that aims to promote photography and encourage photographers in Atlanta. Ten to 12 years ago, ACP teamed up with Pace to specifically encourage a younger demographic of photographers by sponsoring a student photography competition among Atlanta-area schools.

The current exhibit is just that, with five $100 first place prizes awarded to students with the best photographs. There are also second and third place cash awards, accompanied by a slew of honorable mentions. The competition lasts from April 3-17, featuring student-generated photographs from nearly 25 schools in the Atlanta area. Over 200 people come to see the show, making it one of the biggest visual arts shows at Pace Academy.

This year’s judge is Gregor Turk, a Georgia-based conceptual artist, famous for his public art installations such as “Apparitions,” which appeared on the Atlanta BeltLine.  He is also well-known for his ceramic sculptures, photography and mixed media constructions. 

The photos are judged based on their technical and aesthetic qualities, but there are no administered categories that confine what material the photographer can work with. “That’s what’s so incredible about this show,” said photography teacher France Dorman. “The photographers are very free thinking because they haven’t been told what they can and can’t do yet. This makes it more creative, more expressive and unbelievably sophisticated.”

Past themes of the photographs have included feminism, degradation of the environment and urban life. After a judge reformed the program to establish that every photograph must be shown, instead of a select few, the competition has enabled student photographers to become even more expressive and free with their work.

The photography show is a great place not only to see beautiful photography, but also a place to discover and share new ideas. Pace will host a reception and presentation of awards in the FAC on April 7 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.


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