Cortland woman wins local photography contest

Nationally published photographer Bob Gates shows photography exhibits on display at the Cortland Free Library.

CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Cultural Council of Cortland County’s monthly First Friday event featured the eighth juried regional photography exhibit, where photographers and art admirers flocked to the Cortland Free Library to appreciate the work of 22 regional photographers.

Attendees were also able to view pictures from the “Foto Frenzy” cellphone photography contest, as well as enjoy the music of harpist Lisa Fenwick thanks to funds provided by the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Nationally published photographer Bob Gates was there as the judge of the contest, and first spoke of what he values in a photograph.

“Originality, creativity…We all see similar things, but we don’t always see them in the same way,” Gates explained to the crowd.

Gates worked his way around the exhibit, evaluating all the photographs before declaring a winner and giving honorable mentions in each category. He talked the crowd through his mental process when judging photos, and what he believes makes a good photograph before announcing the overall winner of the contest.

“Tulip Cathedral” by Sherry Dans won first place overall, as well first place in the category of abstracts and still-life.

'Tulip Cathedral' by Sherry Dans won first place in the eighth juried regional photography exhibit put on by the Cultural Council of Cortland County.

The winner of the lifetime achievement award was also announced at the event, with the late David Blatchley receiving the title. A piece of his work was displayed: a photograph of a wintry and rainy Cortland day featuring the clock tower on Tompkins Street prior to its destruction in 2006.

Other events of this month’s First Friday included Death and Mourning Tours at the 1890 House Museum, a geode workshop offered by Instant Artist in the Cortland Corset Factory building on Court Street, and a live performance from the Local Farmers Union, a veggie folk-rock group.

First Fridays began in the summer of 2012 and have since been an effective and fun way to connect communities to the arts.

“The idea of First Friday is to focus on art and creativity in our communities,” said Kat McCarthy, executive director of the Cultural Council of Cortland County.

Taking place from 5-8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, businesses and organizations in the community will host a show, exhibit, or other art-related activity that is engaging for the whole family. Maps are available at all participating locations so community members can attend as many events as they like.

The photography exhibit will be up at the Cortland Free Library through October 25.