Goings on with spiva

I think one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do in my career, is partner with Joplin’s local art gallery (Spiva Center for the Arts). It’s easy to look at photography as a commodity, a hobby, or even a necessity (‘We HAVE to get family photos done before our kids move out of the house’…) but not always as art. Spiva’s dedication to photography as an art form, is always inspiring.

This is the time of year when a lot of Spiva’s focus goes into photography. Not just encouraging folks to admire it in a gallery setting, but encouraging whole families to directly participate in it.

3 things I’m fortunate to be involved in right now:

#1: Teaching a class for photspvia tweens.

Here’s the description from Spiva’s website:

“If your budding young photographer was disappointed to age out of PhotoSpiva Kids, and is interested in photography, have we got the class for you! This class builds on photographic skills and introduces fun challenges that will make the PhotoSpiva Tweens exhibit in April especially fun. Two photos from each participant will be chosen and framed for the exhibit.”

The class is THIS Saturday (the 14th), from 11am to noon.  Registration is $35. I will, *gulp*, personally teach the class…. so it may be a little crazy. 🙂 I’m so excited though… this is a super fun age, and I get to help the kids think about photography in a different way.

#2: Judging the photographs from photospiva kids.

The cover photo in this post is one such photo (photo credit to Addison Teeter). Here’s another (this one will receive a ‘most likely to make you laugh’ award, which will be awarded to Kathryn Hart):

My beautiful picture

These images were from the younger age group of kiddos, and it’s always so fun to be able to see the world again from their point of view. It was a good exercise for me to ‘judge’ photos based not on technical ability, but on sheer imagination & the ability to capture what it means to be a kid.  Lots of laughing and ‘awwwww’ing and moments of surprise as I looked through them.

The reception for that event is March 8th… you should come if your’e a Joplinite, if nothing else to see the looks of pride and excitement on a bunch of little kids’ faces as they see their work on a real gallery wall. 🙂

#3: Two of my own photos made it in to the main photospiva exhibit this year… I’ve made it in before, but never with more than one image, so that’s pretty cool.

For those unfamiliar with Photospiva, it is an annual, national photography competition, the longest running competition of its’ kind, and happens to be based here in Joplin, MO. Photographers from all over the country submit work- last year’s 1st place winner was from Brooklyn, NY. It is, of course, my favorite exhibit of the year at Spiva. My pieces are being mounted and framed this week to prepare for the show, which kicks off March 7th- in the meanwhile, you can take a peek at the digital versions of the winners below.

This is a photo from a family session I did last fall, with some of my very favorite ‘regulars’. I’ve been taking pictures of this little girl (Caroline), her big sister, and her little brother since they were born; and while the madness increases with each shoot, I continue to be inspired by these little ones just as much, every time I work with them. I’ve joked about them being ‘muses’, since many of my favorite child portraits have come from sessions with them.

This quiet, ‘in-between’ moment caught my attention when I was trying to decide what to enter this year. And I love bright colors…


This next photo I’ve showed a couple of times… it’s actually a senior photo I took, of an aspiring young composer with a lot of talent. Alex wanted something creative and original for his photos- basically, portraits that didn’t FEEL like ‘senior portraits’.

When he told me about his love of making music, the idea for this image popped into my head. No photoshop, by the way, for those who are wondering… just  his mom and sister, just out of frame, throwing papers. over. and over. Until we got it…

and yes, I know, it also looks like a Harry Potter tribute photo. We’re ok with that…

joplin mo senior portrait from 9art photography1

That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Spiva! 🙂


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