McMurray wins best in show at Lea photo exhibit
Although the doors didn’t open officially until 6 p.m. on Friday, people began to gather at the Lea County Center for the Arts shortly after 5 p.m. to look at the 175 photographs hanging on the gallery walls.
The photos were part of the Lea County Photography Show that is on display through March 31. The show features a display of photography wide range of categories including professional, amateur, computer enhanced and cell phone photography. The artwork was judged with the top three in each category and a grand prize winner announced during the event.
The grand prize winner, considered best in show, went to Karli Sue McMurray for her photo title “Quenched.” It’s a full length portrait of a young boy in Ghana. He is smiling broadly as he pours water on his head.
“I love this picture. I lived with this boy’s family for about three months when I was first in Ghana,” McMurray said. “But it’s not my favorite. My favorite is this picture of these two sisters,” she said as she pointed to a photograph of two young girls who heads appear to be shaved.
McMurray, who is an attorney, visited Ghana during her first year in law school and vowed to assist the people she met there to get reliable supplies of clean water.
To keep her promise, McMurray established the non-profit, One Love Worldwide, an organization that now provides access to clean water for more than 20,000 people in 10 villages in eastern Ghana.
Most of the pictures McMurray entered in Friday’s show are pictures of children and adults enjoying the water the organization she founded has provided by opening bore holes that access wells that are already drilled but need to be opened.
McMurray said she’s proud of the award for her picture.
“But what I am really proud of is the effort people in Hobbs and Lea County have made to get water to people in Ghana,” she said.
In the professional category, first, second and third places all went to Brian Swisher, with Gallie Goulet and David Verscheuren earning honorable mentions.
In the amateur category, first place went to Jason Conley, second place to McMurray, third place to Keveen G. Cruz. Honorable mentions went to Cathy Davis and McMurray.
In the computer enhanced category, first place went to Mauricio Carrasco, second place to Taylor Arnold, third place to Savanna McBeth. Honorable mentions went to Taylor Arnold and Cathy Davis.
In the cell phone category, first place went to Brittany Shastic, second and third places to Mary Spears and honorable mentions to Joshua Urso and Courtney Coburn.
While the early visitors looked at the photography, Andrew Akufo, the center’s executive director, and two volunteers made last-minute adjustments, straightening pictures or replacing identification tags on photographs taken by amateurs and professionals using equipment that included cell phone cameras as well as more traditional cameras.
Subjects of the pictures included one of a green wooly worm crawling along an outstretched human finger, a laughing baby getting a bath in a round tub, portraits of young women, geometric forms and dozens of other things that captured the imagination of a person carrying a camera.
Akufo said the show was arranged so that all pictures in each of the four categories were hung together.
“People can compare the same kinds of pictures,” Akufo said. “They can see examples of what can be done in each genre. And we awarded first, second and third prizes and two honorable mentions in each category.”