Juried Exhibit 2024

2024 Themed Juried Exhibit

The 2024 Theme Juried Exhibit: Texture is on display at the YMCA Balsillie Family Branch, Peterborough.
The awards were announced at the SPARK Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 7th.

Visit the SPARK Themed Juried Exhibit: Texture 2024 page for the winning images, exhibit information and the virtual exhibit of SPARK Selects.

The Call for Entries are now closed.
Thank you to all who entered. Selected photographers were notified by email in early March.
Sign up for our e-newsletter (via the Contact page in the menu) and follow along on social media to get all the updates in the coming weeks.

See sections A through H, below, for complete competition rules and submission procedure.
Please read thoroughly and carefully; eligibility and submission details have been update for 2024.


Texture is tactile yet can be conveyed in a photograph. 

The variation and depth of a surface may be dramatic or microscopic, or a combination of both, and works with patterns, colours and details in composing the overall texture of an object. 

An object may appear smooth from far away while upon closer observation variations in the texture are revealed, providing a completely different visual with a change in focal length.

The use of light and shadow, angle, focus and composition all play into bringing textures to life for the eyes to experience and signal the viewer to imagine the feel of the subject.

Capturing and conveying the characteristics of texture in a two-dimensional media challenges the photographer in many ways. How do you show the viewer the feel of a surface? When photographed successfully, texture stimulates two senses in tandem for a collective experience. Textures can captivate the viewer with intrigue and awe.

Created by nature, by hand or machine. Macro or from a distance. Abstract or defined. In colour or monochrome. We challenge you to capture “textures” for this year’s SPARK Photo Festival Juried Exhibit theme.

Meet the 2024 Jury

Click here to read the jury members’ bios.

Exhibit Overview

Best in Show: Water Life by Kersti Meema

The 2024 Juried Exhibit theme is Textures.

Call for Entries now closed.

A juried exhibit ensures only the highest-quality work is selected for public exhibit. The exhibit to be titled Textures will be on display during SPARK 2024, April 1 to April 30, at a prominent location in Peterborough, Ontario. SPARK, at its discretion, may extend the duration of the exhibit.

Twenty-five (25) individual works will be chosen from all works submitted by a panel of qualified and experienced judges using an anonymous judging process. All identifying information is removed before judges view images. Each selected work will be prepared by the SPARK Juried Exhibit curators to be an exhibit-ready work. All selected photographs will be printed using a standard print size in an exhibit format. These standards are in place to ensure all images will be judged on their inherent quality rather than any other factor.

Exhibit curators, Juried Exhibit Committee Members and judges are not eligible to enter the competition.

From twenty-five selected images, the judges will award the top images: Best in Show, Second Place, Third Place and optional, Fourth Place or Honourable Mention*.

The twenty-five selected images may be published in an online Virtual Exhibit available through the SPARK website, and on the SPARK social media channels. Additional images may be used in an online Virtual Exhibit should the jury determine so. Credit will always be included with each image.

Awarded photographs will be published in the following year’s SPARK Photo Festival promotional materials, on the SPARK website and social media channels.

An Opening Reception and Awards event will be held in Peterborough.

Prize winners will receive monetary prizes:

  • Best in Show $300
  • Second Place $150
  • Third Place $100
  • Fourth Place or Honourable Mention, if awarded* $50

*The Honourable Mention is awarded on the recommendation and discretion of the judges; it may or may not be awarded each year.

All decisions made by the judges are final.

The Juried Exhibit Committee Members and Curators, SPARK Board and Festival Director have no influence whatsoever on the Juried Exhibit selections and awards.

Sign up for our newsletter to be sure to get all Exhibit news first. Sign up here.

Past Themed Juried Exhibit Winners
Click on each image to see full size

2023 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Water

2022 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Monochrome


2021 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Nourish

2020 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Motion

2019 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Family Life

2018 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Reflections

2024 Theme is: Textures

Themed Juried Exhibit Rules and Submission Procedure

A. Eligibility

The SPARK themed juried exhibit is open only to photographers residing in the province of Ontario. All photography skill levels are eligible and welcome.
There are no date restrictions for image creation.
Images that have been selected for exhibition in previous SPARK Photo Festival Themed Juried Exhibits or Virtual Exhibits are not eligible for entry.
Images submitted for SPARK Open Call Exhibit promo materials for past years or the 2024 Festival are not eligible for entry.

Copyright and Ownership: Participants must hold sole copyright and all necessary rights to the submitted images and are required to declare this on the entry form.

Image Capture:

Only images captured with a camera, including digital cameras, film cameras and mobile devices are allowed. The use of other image sources, such as AI-generated or computer-generated images is strictly prohibited.

Image Modification:

Slight modifications are allowed to enhance the overall visual appeal of the photograph. Permitted modifications include adjustments to brightness, contrast, saturation, cropping, straightening and minor retouching (removing dust spots, etc.).
Not allowed: heavy digital manipulations, such as adding or removing significant elements, compositing multiple images (including trichrome, focus stacking) or applying filters that substantially alter the original image.

Entrants are obligated to declare the images submitted meet these eligibility requirements on the entry form.

B. Number of Entries & Submission Fee

The submission fee is $30 and allows each photographer to submit a maximum of three (3) images.
The photographer can submit fewer than 3 images. If they choose to do so, the fee remains the same. No more than 1 submission of up to 3 images per photographer are allowed. Once photos are submitted the entry fee is non-refundable.

C. How to Submit – Please read carefully

Submissions now closed.

Some instructions have changed for 2024; please follow new instructions.

Step 1: Read sections A through H thoroughly and complete online entry form.

This links to a Google Form that will open in a new tab [entries closed] .
Please complete all required sections of the form; your information will be submitted directly to SPARK when you click “Submit” and you will receive a copy of your responses. Read all submission information through section H to get the Key Word required for the online entry form. After completing the form, return to this page.

Step 2: Complete your payment

Payment by e-transfer is preferred. Please send e-transfer to accounts@sparkphotofestival.org. Please make the security question “requested password” then make password (or answer to security question) your last name (all lower case letters) + the word “JURIED” (all upper case letters) + the numbers 24  with no space between, e.g. mackenzieJURIED24.

Your name in the password must match the name on your entry form.
For hyphenated names, please use both last names without hyphen in the password. 

To pay using a credit card or PayPal account, complete PayPal payment: Click here for Online Juried Payment

If you have any questions or are not able to pay online, please email juried.exhibit@sparkphotofestival.org to make alternate arrangements.

Step 3: Submit  your photos

Please see G. Technical Specs below for important image information.

Photos can only be submitted as digital files (no prints) by using this Dropbox file request folder: [now closed] or another cloud file sharing app such as Google Drive or your own Dropbox folder. When submitting images with a cloud share (other than the Dropbox request link provided), share the images with the email address: juried.exhibit@sparkphotofestival.org .

Images sent as email attachments will not be accepted.  There will be no mail-in submissions for 2024.

Ensure your files comply with G. Technical Specs below; incorrectly sized/formatted or named files will not be entered.

If you have any questions, please email Festival Director, Jennifer MacKenzie at  info@sparkphotofestival.org .

When you have completed your entry form, submitted your photos and your fee, you will receive a confirmation email from juried.exhibit@sparkphotofestival.org within 48 hours. Please get in touch if you do not receive that confirmation.

D. Judging Process

Bios of the Judges will be posted on the website when judges are confirmed. If possible, at least one or all of the Judges will attend the awards reception (if applicable). They will explain the reasons behind their choices. Even if not selected to exhibit, we encourage you to attend. Judges comments are both instructive and entertaining.

The judging process is a two-step process.

In the first step, 25 images will be selected for exhibit through an anonymous judging process viewing digital images. All identifying information is removed from images. Judges do not know the identity of the photographers.

Once the 25 initial selections are printed, framed, and installed, in their final exhibit presentation format and venue, (second step) the judges will make their final choice for Best in Show, Second, and Third awards, and Fourth Place or Honourable Mention, if determined. **If circumstances prevent the judges from gathering in person, the award decisions will be made virtually** The identity of the photographers is not revealed to judges until after the awards are determined.

All entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Representative of and/or inspired by the exhibit theme
  • Originality, creativity
  • Composition
  • Overall photographic quality and impact
  • And, only if necessary, compliance with technical specifications (see technical specs below for an explanation)

E. Notification

If your photograph(s) is/are selected for exhibit, you will be notified in advance of the exhibit by email. Selected photographers will have their names published in the e-newsletter and on SPARK social media channels. Prize winners will be announced at the exhibit reception (if allowed or online; date TBC). SPARK will not notify entrants whose work has not been selected for exhibit.

F. Exhibit Presentation

Choice of framing material, mat material, hanging position in relation to other images, hanging hardware, lighting, venue, signage, or any other exhibit presentation variable will be made by the exhibit curators.

G. Technical Specifications

Image files must be named as follows: your Surname_ImageTitle.File Extension (jpg/tif) (e.g. Smith_Hoop Shot.jpg).
If you are submitting a folder via cloud share, include your full name as the Folder Title and Juried Submission ( i.e. Cindy Smith – Juried Submission).

Required submission size for an exhibit print size of 17 x 11 inches (5100 x 3300 pixels), or for a portrait orientation, 11 x 17 inches (3300 x 5100 pixels). Image files should be at the maximum resolution available in either jpg or tif file formats only. Requested PPI (or DPI) is 300.

Selected image files with resolutions higher than the above will be reduced in size. Selected image files lower than the above recommended image size can still be printed, but with no guarantee of print quality and may be disqualified (see below).

SPARK requires that the photographer crop all images to the same aspect ratio as the final exhibit print size. In cases where a selected image has not been re-sized or cropped to size, the photo will be adjusted to a size that will fit or fill the standard exhibit print size width of 17 x 11 inches. Cropping will take place as necessary and will be at the discretion of SPARK. Medium format image submissions in a square format are not acceptable unless cropped in advance to the final print aspect ratio and resolution.

Need to re-size your photos? Check your photo editing software or use a free online app such as https://imresizer.com/. Note: this app is a third-party website, not a SPARK product. If using imresizer, follow the instructions in blue, not the green “Continue” buttons which are, in fact, ads on that site.

Any selected image that doesn’t reproduce well in print due to quality issues may be disqualified at any time during the print production process. An alternate image will be chosen by the judges to be included in the final exhibit of the best 25 images.

H. The Fine Print

What happens to Exhibit prints? SPARK will use the exhibit prints for fundraising, either by sale during the exhibit or post-exhibit at SPARK fundraising events. All funds raised by the sale of exhibit prints will support future SPARK programming. In cases where a second person is interested in acquiring a print already purchased, that person will be asked to directly connect with the photographer. SPARK will be happy to provide photographer the prospective buyer’s contact details in any such case.

Copyright and Ownership: Participants must hold the copyright and all necessary rights to the submitted images and are required to declare this on the entry form. Upon entry of images, the photographer owns and retains all copyright to the images submitted.

The SPARK Photo Festival is a not-for-profit (NFP) corporation operated by a volunteer board and volunteer organizing committee with a Festival Director employee.

Submission of image(s) does not guarantee inclusion in the exhibit. All final exhibit selections are at the discretion and decision of the judges and are not subject to appeal.

There will be no additional photographic print production from any selected exhibit image other than the exhibit print without specific permission from the photographer. Should SPARK wish to use images for other exhibits (print or virtual), additional permissions will be requested by email.

SPARK will assume limited usage rights to the selected images as outlined below:

SPARK will not use any submitted work(s) that has not been selected for the Themed Juried Exhibit or either reproduction, promotion, or for any other purpose whatsoever. Should SPARK wish to use images for other exhibits (print or virtual), additional permissions will be requested by email. All unselected digital files will be deleted from SPARK databases and archives.

By submitting images to the SPARK Juried Exhibit, the photographer agrees, to allow all selected exhibit prints produced by SPARK to be exhibited by SPARK.

By submitting images to SPARK, the photographer further agrees, to allow all selected exhibit image files to be reproduced by SPARK and its agents, exhibit sponsor(s) and suppliers, for SPARK Exhibit promotional purposes only, in any media without restriction for one calendar year starting March 1, 2024 and continuing until April 30, 2025.

All Award-winning Juried Exhibit Selections may continue to be used for future SPARK Juried Exhibit promotional activities, in print, and on various SPARK websites and social media sites. Whenever possible, a photographer credit will accompany this use.

By submitting images to the SPARK Juried Exhibit, the photographer further agrees, to allow all selected exhibit prints produced by SPARK to be used by SPARK for future fundraising purposes.

By submitting images to the SPARK Juried Exhibit and completing the online entry form, the photographer declares they are the original photographer of the image and hold sole copyright to the submitted images.

The photographer further agrees that all exhibit selections, whether prize winners or not, can be used for the creation of a screen-resolution web-based archive/gallery that may be posted on the SPARK website or on social media sites in perpetuity. Web-based galleries will include photographer credit.

By submitting a electronic entry form, payment and digital image files, the photographer acknowledges they have read and understood all the conditions and rules of this contest.

When completing the Online Entry Form, the Key Word required is: SPARK2024-Juried

Thank you to all who participated in the 2023 Water Exhibit.


View the 2023 Water “SPARK Selects” virtual exhibit! There were more than 200 images submitted and only 25 are in the print exhibit so here’s a selection of bonus images for you to enjoy.
Cover image: Jewels of Water by Kenneth Powell
Click “Read More” on the image to view the online exhibit. 

SPARK Photo Festival Water: A Virtual Exhibit