call for exhibition 2010

ENTRY CLOSED: exhibition announced in February

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About tVCA 2010 and general information

Image ©Peter Ruprecht, tVCA Founder's Choice, 2009


The Visual Culture Awards formed in 2008 to coordinate intercultural understanding through gallery exhibition with a collection of photographers aiding photographers in the current season. tVCA 2010 is an international call for gallery exhibition at the CHARLESTON CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY in Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America. The theme of this year's call is, 'Cultural Peace,' and hopes to showcase your culture or a culture you have explored, in a positive or progressive Light.

tVCA 2010 is about filling a gallery space for a solo exhibition at CCforP in the month of March, 2010.

Every single penny that comes in from the photographer's entry fees, will go straight back into the awards for the photographers exhibited (minus 10% going to the charity FOTOKIDS GUATEMALA). This is the premise of tVCA, visual makers supporting visual makers.

There will be a local reception for the exhibited photographer (last year we had a full house; it was a great welcoming!), and an online gallery for further displays of excellence.

The jury will base their selections on the power of the image to move the photographic reader. You may submit fine art to documentary photography and anything in between or outside. What is it you want us to grapple at? What is it you want us to collectively memorize? What is it you want to share about the state of Life and the stilled movement of a culture?

Everyone working on this is on a volunteer basis and logs more that 300 man hours without any monetary benefits. We get to see a great exhibition come together though!

This remains an international call for exhibition and photographers are invited from around the world. Last year more that 30 nations were represented, and we'd like to see this representation again this year.

A biography is part of the entry submission emphasizing cultural identity.

Nikon is donating a D90 D-SLR W/ 18-105MM ZOOM-NIKKOR OUTFIT to tVCA's 2010 Visual Maker of the Year.

The named solo exhibitor (tVCA's 2010 Visual Maker of the Year) will work directly with tVCA and CCforP to curate the event.

There will be no categories this year. Instead, the call is only for exhibition. Each photographer will submit 10-30 images to fill the gallery space. There will be a gold placement for the solo exhibition at the Center, a silver and bronze placement of the photographer's entire gallery submission in the online gallery with selects from different submissions of single images as awards of excellence.

The entire entry fee moneys will be broken down as follows: gallery for solo exhibition named photographer (tVCA's 2010 Visual Maker of the Year) will receive 50% of the total entry fees. Silver for the online gallery will receive 25%, and bronze, 15%. The remaining 10% goes to the named charity. If this was done last year, gold would have gotten 1,350USD, bronze: $675, and silver: $405. This year, we are hoping for even more.

The panel of jury members will go through and make selections of the photographic images for the gallery live on 20 January 2010 at the Center.

The entry fee is 37USD as supposed to last year of 30USD: more to go back in! This includes the entire submission and is not per photograph. You may only submit one portfolio-for-gallery-exhibition for review. You may also donate as much as you would like otherwise. It all goes straight back to the exhibited photographers - 10% to the charity FOTOKIDS GUATEMALA. Please contact for sponsorship.

This year, a description of your exhibition will be needed: you might want to include the process, the impact, or the story. A title would also be recognized.

This year the Charleston Center for Photography will print the awarded exhibition in house for the named photographer: 50% of the prints sold in the gallery will go to the photographer and 50% will go to the Center. The photographer will not incur any costs, except if the full resolution could not be passed through FTP, the cost of postage of a full resolution CD of the images for print to the Center.

MIKAYLA MACKANESS is the founder of the Visual Culture Awards. Her priority for these awards is to uphold visual cross-cultural communications and to extend gratitude to visual makers for their roles within their communities and recognize how they affect the weight of this world: Their very visual and verbal impact.

We hope to find peace and dialog in and through these awards.


tVCA news

Image ©Brigitte Grignet, Bronze in Portfolio recipient of the 2009 tVCA


2010 tVCA call for exhibition is open:


***There have been a fare amount of international submissions with email troubles, so we set up a gmail account and encourage you to send to as well as just in case. If you have not heard back from us in 48 hours, please email for help. Thank you.


The extended deadline is 20 December 2009.


The 2010 tVCA theme is, 'Cultural Peace.' We would like to see a set of images that give Light to your culture or a culture you have endevoured to explore.


Live jury for exhibition will take place on 20 January 2010 at the CHARLESTON CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY.


The three panel jury members for the King Street exhibition are:



The opening of the exhibition will be 05 March 2010 at CCforP.







The space to fill

Not to scale. Black walls. Enter top-right into gallery from the reception's lounge.



2010 tVCA jury


BILL FRAKES is a Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer based in Florida. He has worked in more than 100 countries for a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. His advertising clients include Nike, CocaCola, Champion, Isleworth, Stryker, IBM, Nikon, Kodak, and Reebok. Editorially his work has appeared in virtually every major general interest publication in the world. Bill won the coveted Newspaper Photographer of the Year award in the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition. He was a member of the Miami Herald staff that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Hurricane Andrew . He has also been honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for reporting on the disadvantaged and by the Overseas Press club for distinguished foreign reporting. He was awarded the Gold Medal by World Press Photo. He has received hundreds of national and international awards for his work.

Bill has been an adjunct professor at the University of Miami and the University of Florida. He is currenlty teaching at the University of Kansas.

A popular speaker Bill has given lecturers at more than 30 universities in the last two years.


JEREMY LOCK (Thank you!) subbed in for BILL FRAKES who was under the weather at the time (Hope you feel better!):



JEREMY LOCK is an editorial photojournalist, Jeremy "JT" Lock has a passion for immersing himself into and capturing the essence of the world's people, tragedies, celebrations, and everyday realities--empowering viewers to live and feel those moments through his photographs.

A Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, JT has experience, training, and insight that few photojournalists can claim. He's been in the thick of war battles, shooting with his camera rather than a gun; even earning a Bronze Star. He's documented the realities of life in disease- and poverty-stricken Africa. He's covered diplomatic celebrations, funerals and historic meetings. He is specially trained to shoot from the air and under the sea. He is the sole military photographer to be recognized four times as the best in the business (Military Photographer of the Year, 2003, '05, '06, '08).

“I thrive on working stories, diving into each experience, and living for a moment in a world outside of my norm,” JT said. “It is an honor to be able to share my vision and hopefully foster awareness, understanding, and empathy.”

Nearly 18 years ago, JT was assigned to what has become his life's work. An Airman in the United States Air Force, he was tasked with darkroom tech duties. He worked his way up to photographer and now, still active in the military, serves as a photographer assigned to the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base. As such, he captures his unique perspective of military life, war, and foreign cultures, and people in storytelling shots. Each photograph not only transports the viewer into that moment and offers a breath of that experience, but also records history for the United States' military and government.

He also ably translates his broad military experience into expert photography for numerous major media publications worldwide including, National Geographic, Time Magazine, The New York Times and The LA Times. In 2002, he worked in collaboration with 125 of the world’s leading photojournalists on a book entitled A Day In The Life Of The United States Armed Forces. His work also appears in many books including, NYC Life Going On and The War in Iraq. One of his latest projects was working as a New York Life photographer on a documentary for PBS title Slavery and the Making of America.

JT was introduced to photography at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. He graduated from Airman Leadership October 1996, Ground and Water Survival September 1998, Syracuse University Military Photojournalism Program May 2000, Non-Commissioned Officer Preparatory March 2001, Non-Commissioned Officer Academy February 2007, and is actively pursuing a degree in Photojournalism.



STACY L. PEARSALL got her start as an Air Force photographer over ten years ago at the age of 17. During her time in the service she traveled to over 41 countries and attended S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is one of only two women to win the NPPA Military Photographer of the Year competition, and the only woman to have won it twice. During her three tours in Iraq, she earned the Bronze Star Medal and Commendation with Valor for actions under fire.

Her work has been published in various media to include Time Magazine, New York Times, CNN, BBC, LA Times, USA Today, Soldier of Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Bahrain Times, Oscar nominated PBS: Operation Home Coming and GQ Magazine: This is Our War. Most notably, she was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and also featured in national magazines, Pink, Popular Photography and Newsweek, where she shared her experiences as a female combat photojournalist.

Stacy's photo project titled "Birth Control Glasses," was featured at LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in 2007 and her portrayal of combat experiences in Iraq titled "Inside An Ambush" was highlighted in the NPPA Magazine that same year. She was also an Atlanta Photojournalism Contest and two-time NPPA Women in Photojournalism Contest award winner.

In 2009 alone, Stacy's images have been exhibited in Charleston, S.C. and Hollywood, California. A collection of her photographs will start a nationwide tour in the spring. She made a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in February; During the interview, Oprah and Stacy discussed Stacy's photographic history and the future of her business. PBS and the Air Force Band honored her as the Air Force veteran of the year where they produced a two-hour musical tribute to America’s heroes. In her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, she was presented with the Trojan Labor American Hero Award for 2009.

Currently, Stacy is the Owner/Director of the Charleston Center for Photography; This 5,600-square-foot facility offers photography classes and workshops, digital and wet-process printing, syc wall studio rentals, youth art programs, photo galleries, photography services and more. Stacy continues to travel the world on assignment and conducts photography workshops.


GARY GEBOY’s still photography is represented by three fine art galleries and has been featured in juried shows and exhibitions by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Center for the Arts in McLean, Virginia. His principal publisher is Joggling Board Press, with reviews and photographs reprinted in Charleston Magazine and Hilton Head Magazine.

Geboy’s cinematic works can currently be seen at the Smithsonian’s Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and at the National Park Service Visitor Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site in California.



STEPHEN MCGEE is a professional photo/video journalist who has traveled the world focusing on topics that relate to environment and human interest, from exposing human rights violations and humanitarian crises, to globalization and clean energy. His multimedia work has been shown on/in sites/magazines including,,,,,, People Mag, Der Spiegel.

He is currently working on a documentary on human trafficking in Eastern Europe.

Throughout the 28 countries he has traveled, McGee has lived the lives of his subjects to make certain that the stories he told were the truest to their reality. For two years he worked at the Detroit Free Press making short films on deadline where he was the photographer, producer and editor. He would shoot both stills and video for the multimedia pieces.

Building upon the 174-year history of the Detroit Free Press, he gained a new fresh approach to visual journalism. McGee focused on localizing and vocalizing stories and scenarios representing life from the smallest daily aspect to the moments that live in our memories forever because of their stature and importance. In the two years after McGee helped start the multimedia department led by Nancy Andrews, the Detroit Free Press won 3 National Emmy Awards (in catorgies including, NY Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, Washington Post, LA Times, Frontline) and 5 Regional Emmys.

McGee felt called to leave the Free Press pursue God’s will in his life. McGee utilizes his visual skills to service those who are the forefront of positive global change, the front lines of local humanitarian endeavors, those that make a difference because that is what they were called to do. McGee documents with intention to distribute the voices of the fallen, the broken, the hopeful, the helped, the beneficiaries, to make certain that the citizens of developed nations will not go on in ignorance to the actuality that exists beyond the news, beyond the black type print or LCD that lays just past their cappuccino. Those are the voices he wants to amplify to the masses through the craftsmanship he practices.

He has worked with various non-profits in Ghana, El Salvador, Honduras (2008) Uganda (2005), Rwanda (2005), and in Vietnam (2005, 2006, 2008) and Angola (2004). In 2004 he worked with Health Care for the Homeless where a documentary he co-produced, River Haven, raised $30,000 for a local group of California homeless trying to break out of the street life in Ventura, CA. McGee has helped with his media in fund raising and awareness by Petra Nemcova, Bruce Willys, Wyclef Jean, Ukrainian rock and roll star Pavel Gudimov and Stephen Christian's Faceless International.

McGee lives a life dedicated to his Christian faith in Detroit, Michigan.
(Note from tVCA: Stephen will most likely only be involved with the online AOE selections.)


AMELIA PHILLIPS HALE is a passionate visual storyteller who seeks the truth within her subjects. Born in Kentucky and raised in North Carolina, she has since lived in Georgia, Illinois and Arkansas documenting communities for newspapers.

Her work has been recognized both nationally and internationally by POYi, NPPA's Best of Photojournalism competition, Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop, Editor & Publisher Photos of the Year, The Southern Short Course in News Photography, and The Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. She was 2007 NPPA Region 7 Photographer of the Year Runner-Up and 2007 Arkansas Photographer of the Year.

After missing the ocean for far too long, Amelia moved back to the Carolina coast where she currently works and lives in Charleston, SC with her remarkable husband, Dan Hale, and their wonderfully crazy dogs, Bruester and Ashe.


ELYSE BUTLER and MATT MALLAMS are photographers currently based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Elyse has a fervor and focus on documenting social issues and creating story-telling visual art; she makes pictures to better understand her life as she's living it. Matt has a passion for exploring the streets, working in response to what is given to him, and creating compositions mixing light, color, subjects, reflections, and interactions between people and their environments.

Their clients and publications include Aurora Photos, Contour by Getty, the New York Times, the FADER, Discover, Revolver, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. Recently they exhibited their work at the San Francisco Exposure Gallery, the Visions Gallery in Ventura, California and the Ong King Arts Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. They are both graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography and are founding members of the Aevum photo collective.


CHRIS DE BACKER Chris De Backer has a Master in Fine Arts - Photography. He travelled around the world and won several photography prizes. He experienced first hand the difficulties of an emerging photographer and decided to help out other photographers. In 2001, Chris De Backer founded Young Photographers United (YPU,, a collective of 150 emerging photographers spread around the globe. YPU offers them practical experience, knowledge and exposure to help launch their careers. Each year, YPU selects the 50 most talented photographers out of 2000 applicants. They remain with the organisation for 3 years to work on projects, both in the art and business scenes.









Image preparation

Image ©Nick Hannes, who was the Bronze recipient for Portfolio in 2009 tVCA


Images must have been made within the last three years. Yes three, that's during or after 2006. They must be submitted in digital format, although the images may have come from any photographic medium. We want you to submit communicated cultural reality with Light.


All images must be 1000px at the longest length, saved at 72 dpi.


The image must be titled: LAST NAME_first name_image#.jpg

For example: MCLEOD_Hannah_3.jpg


You may submit between 10 and 30 images for the jury to deliberate for exhibition.


Every image must have a title and a caption which can be included in the body of the email or in the file info section (preferable) of the photograph.


The images should be placed in a zipped folder titled LASTNAME_First

For example: MCLEOD_Hannah


Then, your entry is ready for submission.


*The 2010 Visual Maker of the Year will be responsible for the sending of full resolution digital files to tVCA/CCforP not later then three weeks after awarded the title of tVCA's 2010 Visual Maker of the Year, for CCforP to print.





Submission to tVCA 2010

Image ©Kevin German, who was the Silver recipient for his Photographic Essay in 2009 tVCA


Photographers remain full copyright owners of all images submitted to the Visual Culture Awards. The exhibited images will be posted on tVCA's (this) website: Some of these images may be used to encourage participation in the next tVCA awards via poster print, cards and/or internet banners. By submitting your images to tVCA, you testify that you are the sole creator/copyright owner of those images.

Send your images to:

***There have been a fare amount of international submissions with email troubles, so we set up a gmail account and encourage you to send to as well as just in case. If you have not heard back from us in 48 hours, please email for help. Thank you.

The subject line of the email must read: LAST NAME, first name: SUBMISSION

For example: MCLOED, Hannah: SUBMISSION

When you submit your entry, you will receive an email confirmation and a secure paypal payment request. The entry is not fully submitted until payment is received.

The extended deadline for submissions/payment is 20 December 2009.

The entry fee is $37USD (or more if you'd like to give more back to the community). This includes 10-30 photographs to fill the gallery space; Individuals are only allotted one portfolio for review-for-exhibition.

Remember that images should be 1000px at the longest width/height at 72dpi. See Image preparation for full submission guidelines. If still your zip folder containing all of your images is above 10mb, simply break the submission up into two folders, and two emails (or more, as needed).

A brief bio (about three sentences) stating your nationality and/or cultural identity, your school/work affiliation, and a sentence as a personal statement must be included with your submission.

This year, a paragraph about your exhibited work must be included as well; this may include the process, the method, or a notion about the culture examined. This ought to also contain word of any digital manipulation; consideration of fine art photography to tell the story, or a journalistic approach with no manipulation.

You must also submit a self portrait.

This all must be included in your email.

All submissions must be in the English language.

Please excuse a brief delay after your email is sent, to receive a confirmation. We hand enter every submission and check to see if everything required is together (your images, captions, biography, biographical photograph, and description of series as it relates to 'Cultural peace,' before we send a reminder of what may be missing or confirm your application. We are happy to be a manual part of this process and thank you for your patience. You ought to receive word from us within 24 hours.






tVCA 2010 sponsors









Contact tVCA

Image ©Ari Abramczyk, who was the Award of Excellence recipient for her Portfolio in 2009 tVCA




2010 tVCA team :