Juried Exhibit 2023

The 2023 Themed Juried Exhibit Call for Entries is now closed.

Thank you to all who entered. Photographers of selected images have been notified by email.
Watch for the print Exhibit to be unveiled April 1st at Chasing the Cheese in Peterborough and a virtual exhibit of SPARK Selects on March 30th online.

Image of bubbles in water in background. SPARK Photo Festival logo with wording :Water and Themed Juried Exhibit 2023

See sections A through H, below, for complete competition rules and submission procedure.

Essential to life.
Fundamental for photographic processing.

As a photographic subject water conveys…

Whether in nature or in the studio, water presents its magic and its challenges to be captured by the camera. Sometimes in equal measure.

Be it flowing, static, frozen or vapour. From above or below the water’s surface. 

Water is this year’s challenge. How will you capture water on camera?

Meet the 2023 Jury

Click to read bios of our talented jury of professionals

Exhibit Overview

2022 Monochrome Best in Show: Financial Shuffle by Randall Romano

The 2023 Juried Exhibit theme is Water.

Call for Entries, now closed.

A juried exhibit ensures only the highest-quality work is selected for public exhibit. The exhibit to be titled Water will be on display during SPARK 2023, April 1 to April 30, at Chasing the Cheese in Peterborough, Ontario. SPARK, at its discretion, may extend the duration of the exhibit.
The format of the 2023 Festival will be modified as necessary dependent on the COVID-19 regulations at the time.

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, 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.

If gatherings are deemed safe at the time of the Awards announcement, 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
  • 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

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

2023 Theme is: Water

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 2023 Festival are not eligible for entry.

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 are open through Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 at 8:00 PM EST.

Step 1: Read sections A through H thoroughly, then click this link to complete online entry form. Some instructions have changed; please follow new instructions.

This links to a Google Form that will open in a new tab [entries are 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 23  with no space between, e.g. mackenzieJURIED23.

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 here.

If you have any questions or are not able to pay online, please email info@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: Click Here 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: info@sparkphotofestival.org .

Images sent as email attachments will not be accepted.  There will be no mail-in submissions for 2023.

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 spark.festivaldirector@gmail.com 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 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 (5184 x 3456 pixels). Or if a portrait orientation 11 x 17 inches (3456 x 5184 pixels). Image files should be at the maximum resolution available in either jpg or tif file formats only. Recommended 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 strongly advises 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 printed at 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.

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 contact the photographer. SPARK will be happy to provide photographer contact details in any such case.

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, 2022 and continuing until March 1, 2023.

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.

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.

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: SPARK2023-Juried

Thank you to all who participated in the 2022 Monochrome Exhibit.

As well, due to the impressive number of entries (over 250 images!) we’re pleased to share a Virtual Exhibit of “Judges’ Selects” with a gallery of images the judges determined also deserve recognition.
View the exhibit here. Click on the image below to open the link.
Cover image: Retired Rail by Tyler Logan.

2022 SPARK Photo Festival Monochrome "Judges' Selects"