Four Livingston Parish residents were among the winners of Congressman Garret Graves’ inaugural “Picture the Parish” competition, which asked local photographers to submit photographs that best illustrate Louisiana living.
Graves announced the competition back in November, inviting his 6th Congressional District constituents to submit original black-and-white pictures “showcasing the culture, people, music, flavors, and overall essence of the area.”
Just over a dozen photographers will have their pieces displayed in Graves’ Washington, D.C., office. The work of 12 other photographers will be displayed in Graves’ district offices in Ascension, Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Thibodaux (three per office).
During the virtual awards ceremony, Graves said his office received close to 100 submissions. He lauded the “amazing credibility and skills with the cameras” that the artists displayed and thanked everyone for their submissions.
‘When you look at the pictures that were submitted, it is absolutely unmistakable that these are Louisiana pictures,” Graves said.
Local photographer Jo Lee Misner had one of 13 pieces that will be displayed in Graves’ Washington, D.C., office. Misner’s picture — a snapshot she said was taken not far from home while spending the day with family — features a Louisiana swamp scene, with a clear reflection of the towering trees shown in the water below.
In the description, Misner said the photograph shows “why Louisiana is known as Sportsman's Paradise.”
“Often times, we don't take time to appreciate this wonderful Parish we live in or what it has to offer,” Misner wrote. “When others ask why Louisiana is known as Sportsman's Paradise, this is what comes to mind. Our great land and waterways are enough to make anyone want to enjoy life outdoors.”
Other local photographers that were recognized include Adin Putnam, Robert Wood, and Gary Thompson, who will each have their pictures displayed in Graves’ Livingston Parish office.
For his entry, Putnam captured a shot of the old Livingston Parish Courthouse, which he called “a treasure of the past.” Built in 1835, the old courthouse is a two-story brick structure located in Springfield. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
A history major in college, Putnam said local landmarks such as the old courthouse “are worthy of being captured and kept.”
“Our history and our heritage require our protection and promotion,” Putnam wrote in the description.
Wood and Thompson had similar photographs, each depicting a swamp scene. Thompson’s photo titled “Swamp Life” — one Graves said “screams Louisiana” — was taken along the Amite River near his home in Denham Springs.
“This is typically a Sunday afternoon walk where I walk around and try to get some shots,” Thompson said.
Wood said his photo was taken in Tickfaw State Park on one of his “many adventures through the COVID shutdown.”
“I found time to go out to different areas and shoot different things,” Wood said. “This was my trip to Tickfaw State Park. It looked like a nice Louisiana-type scenery.”
Wood had another photograph that was recognized as a “Spirit of Louisiana” winner: One of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge — commonly called “The New Bridge” — that stretches over the Mississippi River and connects East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge parishes.
The full moon was setting in the early morning hours, and the bridge made for “a nice foreground,” Wood told Graves.
The winners’ artwork will be displayed at Graves’ district offices and Washington, D.C., office throughout the 117th Congress, until December 2022.
The panel of judges included Samantha Spahr, a professional photographer and art gallery assistant; Timothy Bush, a tourism industry executive; and Susan K. Arnold, a fine arts educator.