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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Listening to the Land

Texas Photographic Society   /   Deadline: 04/06/20

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Texas Photographic Society is pleased to announce Listening to the Land, juried by Joel Salcido, renowned fine art photographer and former photojournalist based in San Antonio, Texas. Listening to the Land seeks photographic-based work that spotlights the evolution of Texas' natural resources, geography, agriculture and ecological environment while also capturing the essence of its rural communities.

Our natural world is in continual flux as a result of innate forces and human interventions. As photographers we often approach the land from a standpoint of knowledge and our own experience, without making additional claims or assertions about the places photographed. Instead, we should ask - how has the landscape evolved? how has rural life changed? An examination of land use, land consciousness, the impact of extraction (of resources, nutrients, water, etc.) and the effects of humans on rural lands and generally unpopulated places can instill a deeper understanding for the photographer and culminate in imagery that also educates the viewer. Photographs for this exhibition will provide evidence of listening and responding to the changes, adaptations and shifts in the land and environment.

So think beyond what we usually identify as rural: windmills, barns and pickup trucks. We challenge you to arrive in the rural community with an open mind, to look beyond the obvious, see it with new eyes and listen to what the land says.

In her book Mozart's Starling, when Lyanda Lynn Haupt quotes folklorist Terri Windling, 'Many an old story begins with the words, "Long ago, when animals could speak,"' Haupt suggests that the corollary could be "Long ago, when people could listen." Perhaps our lands and rural communities have volumes to speak, if we are prepared to listen.

Please also review the Juror's Statement below. All entries must be submitted via CaFe.


The gallery exhibition will be held at Studio Gallery at Landmark Arts, Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas from June 5, 2020 - July 31, 2020.


The entry fee for current members of TPS is $30 for 5 images, plus $6 for each additional image. The non-member entry fee is $38 for 5 images, plus $6 for each additional image. You may enter up to 12 images. You do not have to be a member of TPS to enter. However, you may enter the competition, join TPS as a member at the same time and pay the member entry fee of $30.


Listening to the Land is open to artists at least 18 years old, of all levels internationally. All photographic-based work is encouraged including digital, silver and alternative processes. Works exhibited previously in a TPS show are not eligible. Current members of the TPS Board of Directors are permitted to enter but are not eligible for awards.


Please submit JPG files only, minimum of 1200 pixels on the longest side and 5 MB maximum. For each image you will need to provide the image title and the process used (Archival Digital Print, Silver Gelatin Print, Platinum/Palladium Print, Wet Plate Collodian, etc.)


First Place = $500
Second Place = $300
Third Place = $200
Up to 5 Honorable Mentions may be awarded

Evaluation Criteria


How does photography define you? Most serious photographers eventually develop a technical skill set that helps them translate the language of light into a visual commentary. However, not all photographers have an acute awareness of how their innate human sensibilities will transcend into their photographs.

That is to say, photographs can be technically perfect but without a soul.

My constant personal goal as a photographer is to accomplish the nearly impossible task of creating images that transcend time… I mostly fail, but sometimes I succeed. That is the driving force behind my photography. For me, photography works at three levels: the literal, the aesthetic and the spiritual. If a single image can carry the weight of those three elements, you should have a photograph that likely can withstand the test of time and therefore become transcendent.

Beyond a spectacular creative aesthetic, will you dig deeper into yourself and share something that comes from the depth of who you are? Will you go beyond the surface of the image? Will you take the easy or the difficult route; are you being honest? What discomforts did you endure? How fresh is your visual palette?

Your images of the rural environment should reflect your deep, emotional and thoughtful relationship with your subject, whether it be the majestic landscape, its people or the mere abstract.

In essence I will be looking for beauty, YOUR version of beauty.


— Joel Salcido

Contact Information

Susan Edgley
PO Box 3082
Coppell, TX 75019


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