Walton Arts Center announces Artosphere photo contest winner, runners-up

Walton Arts Center officials today announced the winner and runners-up for its annual Artosphere photography contest.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Beauty of Reuse.” Arkansas photographers were invited to submit photographs related to the topic, including nature and landscape photos, images that depict environmental issues and other pictures that encourage people to be “green.”

Local photographer David Cagle was selected as the grand prize winner for this year for his photo entitled “Milky Way Over Boxley Church” which features a view of the starry night sky over a white chapel in Boxley Valley. His technique made details of the Milky Way visible that typically cannot be seen by the naked eye. He received $150 for his winning entry.

“Milky Way Over Boxley Church” by David Cagle

Cagle is a 14-year photographer whose favorite subject to photograph is waterfalls.

“I like to photograph waterfalls mainly because I enjoy being in the presence of the waterfall and listening to the water,” he said.

Rebecca Drolen, assistant professor of photography at the University of Arkansas, judged the 30 images submitted from 11 photographers.

“This scene is a majestic and beautiful reminder of how we exist within much larger ecological systems that we must contribute to upholding,” Drolen said. “To see our land as ordinary or a simple backdrop that we control would be short-sighted. And if you are looking for it, sometimes the sky will open up to reveal the extraordinary.”


Drolen also recognized runners-up for their representations of the complex relationship that humans have with nature. Officials said David Orr’s submissions “Riparian Stick Serpent Posteroanterior” and “Riparian Stick Serpent Right Cranial” stood out for the use of the forest as a site of creation.

“Riparian Stick Serpent Right Cranial” by David Orr

“Riparian Stick Serpent Posteroanterior” by David Orr

For his entry, Orr photographed his land art Riparian Stick Serpent. The piece consists of vines and limbs cut and groomed over three months complied into an 80-foot stick serpent occupying space near a river in west Arkansas. The project sustained old-growth oaks, removed invasive non-native trees and shrubs and opened up areas that may benefit southern flying squirrels.

“I enjoy finding the story in a composition, whether told by a spring ephemeral or a monumental waterfall,” said Orr, a long-time photographer who has focused on his craft in retirement and interprets nature through photos.

Other runners-up include Sandosh Kumar Ponnusamy with “Wild Caught Snake In Bamboo Tree,” Mike Bolding with “Osprey Surfing A Barracuda,” Kate Friesen with “Natural Captivation,” LaDonna Harvey with “Blossoms Up Close,” Shelby Vaught with “Scenic Route” and Maurice Konkle with “Examined Sky.”

“Wild Caught Snake In Bamboo Tree” by Sandosh Kumar Ponnusamy

“Osprey Surfing A Barracuda” by Mike Bolding

“Natural Captivation” by Kate Friesen

“Blossoms Up Close” by LaDonna Harvey

“Scenic View” by Shelby Vaught

“Examined Sky” by Maurice Konkle