With Sonoran wilderness and the great Pusch Ridge, Oro Valley is home to some of the most gorgeous views in Southern Arizona. Now, locals are being asked to capture some of that beauty in the inaugural Oro Valley Community Photography Competition. The competition is a partnership between the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and the Town of Oro Valley, and is accepting entries through Monday, March 8.

According to SAACA, the competition aims to reveal “the essence of Oro Valley” by camera, highlighting the landmarks, neighborhoods, history and natural beauty around town.

All photographs must be taken in the Town of Oro Valley, but the photographer does not need to live in town. Photographers of all ages are permitted to participate, and entries will be in either the youth or adult category. Photographers may enter up to five photos in any category. Photographs will be judged on “originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit” from a panel of both emerging and established professional artists and editorial contacts.

The grand prize is $500, and the adult and youth categories will each also include a first prize ($150), second price ($75), and third prize ($25). Winners will be officially announced Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

The Grand Prize-winning photograph will be featured on the January 2022 cover of the SAACA Southern Arizona Undercover Arts Magazine. Other contest photographs may also be published inside the magazine. All photographers will be notified in advance of publishing.

All photographs should “accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.” Photographs that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified.

Though the competition’s categories are adult and youth, SAACA has detailed a list of possible relevant subjects for artistic inspiration:

• Home: The essence of one’s own interpretation of the word home.

• Celebration/Holidays: The best image featuring elements of a destination’s culture, whether food, art, traditions, or local people engaged in daily life.

• People: Whether candid or stages, human interaction or social context is the theme for this category.

• City: Photography that brings the active landscape of Oro Valley to life. These can include streets, businesses, or places where people gather and actively participate.

• Natural Landscape: The best image of scenery.

• Arts: This can be 2D or 3D art, or culinary, jewelry, or performing arts.

• Wildlife: Candid shots of animals and wildlife in Oro Valley. These can be taken out in nature, or in your backyard.

• Botanicals: Artistic photography that uses unique development or processing to highlight plants in Oro Valley.

• Seasons: Stories told through photography that clearly depict a unique annual weather change or season. These can include snow, rain, thunder, monsoon, autumn, etc.

• Recreation/Sports: Active photography that illustrates hiking, biking, basketball, baseball, swimming, golf, archery and more.

• Architectural/Community: The best image of the Town, architectural detail, building, monument, street, or structure that captures the essence of a place.

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