Thomas, WV – Titles such as “Rain Drop”, “Sundews on Dolly Sods”, “Canaan Valley Spring Morning”, and “Water Under the Bridge” are just a few of the awe-inspiring images unveiled at the 4th Annual Photography Exhibit at Cortland Acres last Thursday evening. While the titles accurately describe the entries, mere words cannot convey the breathtaking scenes captured by professional and amateur photographers alike.
As with previous years, The Cortland Foundation sponsored the unveiling. The event showcases scenes from around the region through fourteen large-format photographic prints housed in the Blackwater Rehab Center and thirteen smaller images displayed in the newly created gallery exhibit in Blackwater’s Pendleton Lounge. Featuring photographs of different sizes and orientations, The Gallery subject matter is curated by the judge each year to reflect their own personal passion in the industry. As a professional nature photographer, this years’ judge Robert H. Clark, selected images depicting birds, butterflies, wild flowers and more.
“Our tagline ‘The Nature of Care’, takes on even more meaning with our annual photographic displays”, explains Director of Development Dan Bucher. “Bringing beautiful scenes from around the region indoors for our residents to enjoy year-round has a profound positive impact on residents and visitors. This project underscores our commitment to making Cortland Acres more like a home.”
The annual photography contest encourages photographers from around West Virginia and beyond to submit images that highlight the beauty and activities found in northern West Virginia and western Maryland and are representative of the people, places and pursuits found in this region. In the end, a total of forty-four photographers submitted one hundred fifty-four images for consideration.
“Seeing my butterfly photograph on The Gallery wall was a very emotional experience for me,” explains first time exhibit winner and amateur photographer Lisa Warnick. “I heard about this competition last year in my local newspaper and decided to try my luck. While recovering from ankle surgery I spent two weeks recuperating with a camera in my hand trained on my blooming backyard. My butterfly bush was a favorite and I was able to capture a wonderful shot of a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.” Warnick has received recognition for her images from local fairs and festivals but never from a contest judged by a nationally renowned professional photographer. “Even receiving the letter notifying me of my winning entry could not have prepared me for the feeling of seeing my work displayed alongside so many wonderful images.”
The evening also included a silent auction of the canvas photographs from 2018. The sale of previous years’ prints enables the project to be self-sustaining. But without a doubt, making the unveiling even more special were the narratives provided by the winning photographers on hand to explain what it took to actually get the winning shot. From crack-of-dawn hikes through rugged terrain to being in just the right place at the right time, each photograph tells the story of the beautiful state we call Almost Heaven.