AKD Sociology Honor Society Schedules Photography Contest

Local and area photographers are being encouraged to focus their lenses on capturing a borderless society by Texas A&M International University's Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society.

In association with the Laredo Center for the Arts and A&M International, Alpha Kappa Delta will sponsor a juried photography contest and exhibition, "Images of a Borderless Society" Jan. 27 at the Laredo Center for the Arts. Proceeds from the contest will support graduate sociology student scholarships.

Event organizers Veronica Martinez and Tamara Casso, A&M International students and AKD members, said the contest and exhibition is designed to offer a lasting record of Laredo's unique borderless society.

"Laredo's society seems an almost fluid entity with many interesting rivers and streams. A river may separate our geography, but there truly aren't borders to our lives -- the possibilities are endless. Photography offers an artistic and lasting medium for recording how our people challenge themselves and work within and without our society," explained Martinez.

Casso concurred, noting that the event is in keeping with the organizations' commitment to research and service.

"Our organization intends that social research has a definite service component. We believe that this contest affords an opportunity to document the uniqueness of our area while also providing a needed record that others may enjoy for years to come. We appreciate the partnership of the University and the Laredo Center for the Arts in this initiative," Casso noted.

J. Michael Short, staff photojournalist with The Laredo Morning Times and keynote speaker and juror for the photography contest, said the event takes its impetus from the lasting tradition of socially conscious documentary photography. Short will offer a presentation, "100 years of Socially Conscious Documentary Photography," that will highlight the Jan. 27 event.

"This event is an appropriate extension of socially conscious documentary photography, such as that seen in early work by Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine. My presentation will examine this tradition through the documentary work done during the 1930s and 40s by American photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorthea Lange and Russell Lee. We'll also look at one of the century's most influential photographers, W. Eugene Smith, whose work still resonates 20 years after his death. His standard has since been carried forward by the likes of present-day photographers including Sebastiao Salgado, Eugene Richards, and Cindy Sherman," he explained.

Short said he hopes that the contest will encourage entrants to submit work in creative and artistic veins.

"I think there are many ways to approach producing "Images of a Borderless Society". I hope to see a wide range of approaches, styles, and photographic technique in the materials submitted for the exhibit. I and the other jurors are looking forward to reviewing the material and participating in the judging, " he said.

The contest is open to those 16 years of age or older and entries must be of original work executed within the past year. Categories will include black and white, color and digital photography. All entries must be 8X10 photographs mounted on cardboard matting and include artist's name, photograph title and a brief written description of the photo attached to back.

Non-refundable entry fee of $20 must accompany the entry form. Forms are available at the president's office at A&M International and the Laredo Center for the Arts downtown. All entries must be received by Jan. 15, 1999.

Awards will include an overall cash prize of $500 for Best of Show and first, second and third prizes of $200, $100 and $50 for each of the three competition categories. Winning photographs will be displayed at the Laredo Center for the Arts.

Additional jurors include Gabriel Castillo, special events coordinator and assistant VP for Marketing at International Bank of Commerce; Martha Gonzalez, executive director, Laredo Center for the Arts; Linda Jennett, board member, Center for the Arts; Charles G. T. Johnson, local interior/landscape designer; Janet E. Krueger, assistant professor of Art at A&M International, and Oralia Roach, photographer and associate director of public affairs and information services at A&M International.

A&M International founded its chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta in 1997. Dr. Cecilia Garza, assistant professor of sociology, is faculty sponsor.

For additional information, contact Veronica Martinez at (956) 326-2322, email to veronica@tamiu.edu or tcasso@icsi.net.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu