Submit to the Juried Exhibit

2019 Juried Exhibit Theme Logo2019 JURIED THEME (see below for a detailed description of the contest rules)

Exhibit Overview

Best in Show 2018, Damselflies on Pond Weed by Peter Clute

Best in Show 2018, Damselflies on Pond Weed by Peter Clute

Submission Deadline: February 1, 2019

A juried exhibit ensures only the highest quality work is selected for exhibit. The 2019 exhibit, to be titled Family Life,  will be on display during SPARK 2019, April 1 to April 30, at a prominent venue. SPARK, at their discretion may extend the duration of the exhibit.

30 individual works will be chosen from all works submitted by a panel of qualified and experienced judges using a blind judging process.

Each selected work will be prepared by the SPARK juried exhibit curators to be an exhibit ready work. All selected photographs will be printed and framed using a standard print size as well as a standard frame. This is meant to insure all images will be judged on their inherent quality rather than on any other factor.



2018 Juried Exhibit Award Winners

2016 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Theme: Shadows

Exhibit curators will not be involved in the judging other than as facilitators for the judging process.

There will be an exhibit reception during which awards, certificates, and prizes will be presented in the following categories: Best of Show, Second Place, Third Place, and Honourable Mention(s). More than one honourable mention will be awarded only in cases where the judges are deadlocked on a finalist for this category. All prizes are non-transferable. Awarded photographs will be published in the following year’s (2020) SPARK Festival catalogue and on the SPARK website.

All photographers who submit work, whether selected for exhibit or not, are eligible for an exciting prize of a photo book to be drawn on the day of the award presentations. You must be in attendance at the exhibit reception to be eligible for the draw prize. Ballots will be drawn until a winner steps forward. 2019 Draw prize details (TBA)

 Cash Awards will be presented to selected exhibiting photographers in the following categories:

  • Best of Show Cash  $250 | Plaque
  • Second Place Cash $125 | Plaque
  • Third Place Cash $75 | Plaque
  • Honourable Mention(s) Cash $50 | Plaque

2015 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Theme: Parallels

2019 Theme

The theme of SPARK’s 2019 Juried Exhibit is Family Life.

The theme is an invitation to look both inward and outward to define and explore through your photographs what family life means to you.

Family Life is often the first subject we photograph. Starting at childbirth, photographs document a rich mosaic of family events and activities throughout our lives. Family members are readily available, not to mention inexpensive models, adding interest and colour to our photographs. When travelling or at public events, photographers are naturally drawn to the “other family” as a familiar, comfortable subject.

Photographers tend to undervalue their family photos dismissing them as snapshots of little interest to anyone other than the immediate family. Traditionally this subject matter is often treated from a romanticized viewpoint (Pinterest, Disney, studio & stock provide countless examples). In real life, this romantic viewpoint is challenging to recreate photographically. Our family photos rarely compare in quality or composition to the highly controlled “romantic” photos of family life we are accustomed to viewing in the media. Is this the reason we are so quick to devalue them? In reality, family life can be messy and chaotic. Is it because we are so close to the subject matter that we fail to find it interesting? What would make a family photo interesting for a stranger to look at?

For ideas and inspiration, take a look at Larry Towell’s family photos in The View From My Front Porch.  

Or Julie Blackmon ( Every photographic master has looked at this theme.

For many entrants, this will be an editing task rather than a photographic one as they already have years of family photos to draw upon. What is it that will make your family photo a great photograph, to have it chosen as worthy of exhibit?  And that is the challenge of this year’s theme!


This themed and juried exhibit is open to all photographers residing in the province of Ontario. SPARK Juried Exhibit curators and judges are not eligible to submit images.


Each photographer can submit a maximum of three images. Photographers who have registered an exhibit at SPARK in 2019, either individually, or registered as a participating member of a group exhibit (ie: camera club with a SPARK exhibit), qualify to enter at the discounted submission price per image.

Submission Fees Per Image

  • Students $10.00 per image
  • Registered SPARK Exhibitor in 2019 $14.00 per image
  • Photographer Not Registered to Exhibit during SPARK 2019 $17.00 per image

How to Submit

2019 Mail-in Juried Entry Form

2019 Mail-in Juried Entry Form (download)

Deadline: February 1, 2019
Photos can only be submitted as digital files (no prints) by using any file sharing app such as Dropbox or Google Drive. When submitting images using Dropbox, share the images with the email address: Images can also be submitted on CD/DVD/stick drive. SPARK cannot return digital media drives.

Payment By Mail
If submitting by mail, courier or in person, please include the entry form, payment, and all digital materials in your package.

Submit entry form, payment, and all materials by mail or courier to:

SPARK Juried Exhibit
c/o Package Plus
Box 278, 171A Rink St.,
Peterborough, ON K9J 2J6

Payment by Credit Card
To pay using a credit card you must submit your entry on-line. There are three parts to a submission. Follow the steps below.

After completing each step you will be re-directed to the next step.

For online submission, click on Step 1 below:

Judging Process

The judging process is a two-step process.

In the first step, 30 images will be selected for exhibit through a “blind” judging process using monitors and small proof prints. Once the 30 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, Third, and Honourable mention award categories.

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)

If possible, at least one or all of the Judges will attend the awards reception to explain the reasons behind their choices. Even if not selected to exhibit, we encourage you to attend. Judges comments are both instructive and entertaining.

Judge Bios

Richard Bell
MPA, HLM, APPO, Cr. Photog., is a professional commercial, industrial photographer. His studio manages a wide spectrum of assignments ranging from advertising, commercial, industrial, public relations and aerial photography. RBA Studio is a full service photographic studio specializing in annual reports, corporate, public relations, event imaging, advertising, commercial and industrial assignments. Rick has received national and international recognition for his work. A number of his images are retained by the National Archives of Canada in the permanent loan collection. He is Accredited in ten different categories of professional photography and his work is represented world-wide by the New York stock photo agency, Index Stock Photography. Rick has his Master of Photographic Arts degree (MPA) with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), his Craftsman of Photographic Arts Degree (Cr.Photog.) with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and is currently one of the associations’ national judges. He is PPOC’s former National Accreditation Chairman and the Professional Photographers of Ontario’s former Provincial Print Show

Wendy Gonneau
Has been a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) since 2006. During this time, she has volunteered for many positions within the association: Toronto’s Central Ontario Branch and Print Show Chair, Ontario’s Board – Secretary and Print Salon Chair, and on the National level, Pre-Accreditation Review Program Chair, Consulting and Critique Judge. She has also helped on various committees within these positions. From volunteering and helping other members, Wendy has grown as a photographer and individual. She has received her Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA), Master of Photographic Arts (MPA), and her Service of Photographic Arts (SPA) within the PPOC.

Her genre of photography lies within the Fine Arts and creating images within Photoshop. From basic B/W to complex composites which challenge one’s psyche, Wendy allows her imagination to depict the scenarios she sees within an image. The images are sometimes vague, and elusive, but she feels these are the most rewarding for her, as they reveal a piece of her she never realized existed. Photography is an eye opener, literally and figuratively. You need only to take the time to stop and become aware of your surroundings.

Charles van den Ouden
Charles van den Ouden is a Dutch born photographer trained at the Vancouver School of Art. Throughout his career, Charles has been active in local, provincial and national photographic organizations, and operated the Charles van den Ouden photography studio for 24 years. He has made a name for himself as a commercial photographer who specializes in working with people. Charles is currently a full time professor in the School of Media Studies, Humber College Toronto.


If your photograph(s) are selected for exhibit, you will be notified in advance of the exhibit awards reception by email. Selected photographers names will also be published in the SPARK e-newsletter. Prize winners will be announced at the exhibit reception. The draw prize will also take place during the reception.

Due to the  volume of submissions, SPARK cannot notify entrants whose work has not been selected for exhibit.

Exhibit Presentation

Choice of framing material, matt 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.

Technical Specifications

Image files should be re-named as follows: Your Surname_ImageTitle.File Extension (jpg/tiff) (e.g. Smith_Grandma.jpg)

Image files should be at the maximum resolution available in either jpg or tif file formats only.

Recommended minimum submission size for an exhibit print size of 17 x 11 (5184 x 3456 pixels). Or if a portrait orientation: 11 x 17 (3456 x 5184 pixels). These minimums allow a print resolution of 300 ppi.

Selected image files with resolutions higher than the above recommended minimum image size 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 strongly advises that the photographer crop all submitted images to the same aspect ratio as the final exhibit print size even if that means a lower ppi than specified above. In cases where the image has not been re-sized or cropped to size, the photo will be printed at a size that will fit or fill the standard exhibit print size width of 17”x11”. Cropping will take place 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.

Any selected image that doesn’t reproduce well in print because of low resolution, cropping, aspect ratio or any other quality issue 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 30 images.

2014 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Theme: Spaces

Sale of Exhibit Prints

SPARK will use the exhibit prints produced by SPARK 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 go toward supporting future SPARK programming.

Framed exhibit prints can be purchased by the public during the exhibit at a cost of $200.00. Purchased photographs will be noted by a red dot. The purchaser must arrange to pick up the purchased framed image at any time on the last day of the exhibit. SPARK cannot deliver purchased prints to the public.

SPARK’s policy is to use only the exhibit print for fundraising. In cases where a second person is interested in acquiring a print already purchased, that person will be asked to directly contact the photographer. The exhibit curator will be happy to provide photographer contact details in any such case.

Post-exhibit can the submitting photographer purchase their exhibit print(s)?

Yes!  There will be two purchase options available: framed or unframed exhibits prints. All prints are printed on archival substrates.

Framed exhibit prints can only be purchased by the photographer who is the creator of that image at a reduced cost of $125. As frames are used for multiple exhibits, please examine the frame in advance for defects. Framed exhibit prints will be sold as is. Payment & pick-up arrangements must be made in advance of the exhibit closing date. SPARK cannot deliver purchased framed prints.

The unframed exhibit print can also be purchased by the photographer who is the creator of that image at a cost of $40. Payment & pick-up arrangements must be made in advance. SPARK cannot deliver purchased unframed prints.

Please contact SPARK or the exhibit curator to arrange payment and pick-up if you are interested in either of the above options.

The Fine Print

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.

Submission of image(s) does not guarantee inclusion in the exhibit Family Life. 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.

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 final public print exhibit for either reproduction, promotion, or for any other purpose whatsoever. 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 juried exhibit promotional purposes, in any media without restriction for one calendar year starting March 1, 2019 and continuing until March 1, 2020.

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 fundraising purposes.

All Awarded Juried Exhibit Selections however, 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.

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 credits.

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