Photos get their own category in Burden art exhibition

There were 91 entries, each with its own story.

And whittling them down was a tough job for the judges. But that was a good thing.

“They were quality photographs, and it was wonderful to see so many entries in the first year of the exhibit’s photography category,” says David Humphries, a local photographer.

Humphries, along with fellow professional photographers C.C. Lockwood and Beverly Coates, judged the photo category for the Brush With Burden Exhibition, which opens with a reception from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie at the LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens at Burden on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. The show runs through Friday, March 30, and is sponsored by the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden and the Burden Horticulture Society.

The theme for the multimedia show is “The Nature and Culture of Louisiana,” and as Humphries said, this is the first year photography will have its own category.

“We judged the exhibit blind,” Humphries says, meaning the judges looked at the work without the photographers’ names attached. “We knew we would probably know a lot of the people who took the photographs, so we knew this would be the most fair way for us to judge the show.”

The three photographers met in Humphries’ Baton Rouge studio, where he projected photographic images on the wall. Lockwood and Coates are known for their nature photography, and Humphries photographs people, places and events.

“C.C. and Beverly were probably drawn more to the environmental and nature scenes,” Humphries says. “And a lot of the photographs depicted nature and wildlife. Many of them were taken on the Burden grounds. We had our favorites, and we all came together in the end to choose about 50 photos for the show.”

That’s a little more than half of the entries.

“It was difficult, but I think we made some great choices,” Humprhies says.

The judges will wait until Saturday to choose award winners. Best in Show, Judge’s Choice, People’s Choice and Merit awards will be given in each category.

“We agreed that we wanted to see the actual work after it was hung to make these decisions,” he says.

In addition to this exhibit, winning artwork will be displayed at the Shaw Center for the Arts from April 7-30.

Also, artist Billy Solitario will be conducting a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 22, at the Ione Burden Conference Center, which is located in the Botanic Gardens. His lecture will cover landscapes and includes a demonstration on his unique approach to illustrating clouds and skyscapes. Registration is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Seating is limited.

Both the exhibit and reception are free.