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2008 News Releases

Photos by two Longwood students chosen for national photographic competition

April 1, 2008

Kenny Wolfe and Rachel Burchard Kenny Wolfe and Rachel Burchard

Two Longwood University sophomores recently had photographs selected for a national photographic competition.

"PhotoSpiva 2008," sponsored by the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri, and open to any amateur or professional photographer in the United States or its territories, will include three black and white photos by Rachel Burchard and one black and white photo by Kenny Wolfe. Burchard’s photos are a series of self-portraits. Wolfe’s photo, Girl in Tree, was taken in a magnolia tree behind Lancaster Hall on the Longwood campus; Burchard was the subject.

Now in its 32nd year – it is the longest running photographic competition of its kind in the U.S. – PhotoSpiva seeks to present a "snapshot" of contemporary photography. This year’s show, which will run from April 19 through June 1, features 78 images (traditional photos, digital photos and mixed-media works) by 34 photographers from 17 states.

"Some 577 images from 115 photographers in 27 states were entered, so it’s a huge accomplishment to have work accepted," said Jo Mueller, executive director of the Spiva Center for the Arts. "The show is always a wonderful mix of amateur and professional works. You get all the enthusiasm of the beginner with all the skill of the professional."

The juror for PhotoSpiva 2008 is Rod Slemmons, director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago. The

Spiva Center for the Arts was founded by George A. Spiva (1904-1967), a Joplin businessman and philanthropist who was interested in the arts.

Burchard, from Timberville in Rockingham County, and Wolfe, from Richmond, are both art majors with a concentration in photography. They learned of PhotoSpiva from Anna Cox, assistant professor of art, whose color photography course they are taking this semester, though their submissions weren’t related to that class.

Wolfe and Burchard each submitted five photos, which is the maximum, and each had to pay the $40 entry fee. All of her photos were black and white; he submitted three black and whites and two color photos. Both took their photos with a single-lens reflex camera, not a digital camera.

"I used a tripod and a timer for my self-portraits," Burchard said. "One of them was taken at night in a playground, another is a silhouette in my backyard at home, and in the other photo I’m in a black dress next to a lamp, with my legs tied up with the cord from the lamp, which is lighting me."

The two students went March 22 to Richmond to have their photos framed, then sent them to the Spiva Center for the Arts to meet a deadline of April 9. Earlier they had e-mailed digital images of their photos to the gallery, which was founded in 1948.

Wolfe, a graduate of Deep Run High School, is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Kappa Pi, honor societies for freshman and art, respectively, and the Longwood Ambassadors, and he is a resident assistant in Curry. He is the son of Marjorie Wall, a Farmville native. He and Burchard are both interested in a photography career.

"I’d always been interested in photography, but then in my junior year of high school I really fell in love with it and decided it’s what I want to do the rest of my life," Wolfe said. "I might want to be a photographer for a magazine, or maybe work in a gallery and do freelance photography."

Burchard, a graduate of Broadway High School, also developed an early interest in photography. "I got into photography in middle school, then I became interested in photojournalism, because I also like to write, and I worked for two years for a newspaper in Broadway (near Harrisonburg), the North Fork Journal, but now my passion is fine-arts photography," she said. She is the daughter of  Jonathan and Melinda Burchard.

Both did something interesting over spring break. Wolfe went to Paris with the "Museums of Paris" course taught by Dr. John Burke, professor of interior architecture. Burchard went to New York City to participate in Alternative Spring Break, in which she assisted the Junior Achievement program by teaching inner-city kids about saving money and balancing a checkbook.