Submit to the Juried Exhibit 2020

2020 JURIED THEME (see below for a detailed description of the contest rules)

Exhibit Overview

2020 Motion Best in Show: Leap Year by Patricia M. Calder

The 2021 Juried Exhibit theme will be announced and submissions will opn on November 1, 2020.

A juried exhibit ensures only the highest quality work is selected for public exhibit. The exhibit to be titled Motion will be on display during SPARK 2020, April 1 to April 30, at a prominent venue (TBA). 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 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. These standards are in place to ensure all images will be judged on their inherent quality rather than on any other factor.

Exhibit curators and judges are not eligible to enter the competition.

There will be an exhibit reception during which awards, certificates, and cash prizes will be presented in the following categories: Best in Show ($300), Second Place ($150), and Third Place ($100). From time to time, on the recommendation and discretion of the judges, a single Honourable Mention ($50) may also be awarded. The Honourable Mention award is not guaranteed as are the other awards.

Awarded photographs will be published in the following year’s (2021) SPARK Festival catalogue and on the SPARK website.

2020 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Motion

2019 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Family Life

2018 Juried Exhibit Award Winners – Reflections

Juried Awards 2020

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 in 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 (2021) 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. 2020 Draw prize details (TBA)

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

  • Best in Show Cash  $300 | Plaque
  • Second Place Cash $150 | Plaque
  • Third Place Cash $100 | Plaque
  • Honourable Mention(s) Cash $50 | Plaque

2020 Theme

The 2020 SPARK Juried Exhibit Theme is Motion.
A photograph has the unique ability to record a fraction of a particular moment in time. It is ironic that the subject of numerous “still photographs” includes motion.

Conveying a sense of motion in a photograph, whether of a person, place, or thing, can alter how the photograph is interpreted.

Motion in a photograph is often used to communicate a mood. Waves or waterfalls, photographed with a long exposure time, can soften details, creating a feeling of peace and serenity. Blurred figures, people on the street photographed against the sharp facade of a building, can convey the frantic energy of city life.

Motion in a photograph can also eliminate distracting details bringing attention to the main subject. There are many techniques to achieve this. Panning and zooming keep the subject in focus while blurring background details.

A photograph exposed with a high shutter speed can freeze the peak moment of a movement, a rain drop hitting the surface of a still pond, the instant the fist of a prize fighter makes contact with their opponent, the split second before a pitch connects with a bat.

A photograph with a slow shutter speed can reveal the light trails made by traffic, the path of stars across the night sky, the abstract garish motion and colour of a carnival ride. Multiple exposures can reveal the anatomy of a motion or create a visual narrative that shows the passage of time.

For the photographer, a sense of motion, whether frozen, perfectly sharp and in focus, or with the subject or background blurred, becomes a technical and artistic choice.

Motion is this year’s challenge. How have you photographed motion?


The SPARK themed and juried exhibit is open only to photographers residing in the province of Ontario.

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 less 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.

How to Submit

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, share the images with the email address: . Images can also be submitted by mail or courier on CD/DVD/stick drive. SPARK cannot return digital media or drives.

Unselected digital files will be deleted after the exhibit has taken place.

If submitting by mail or courier please include the completed entry form, payment by cheque or money order, and all digital materials in your package.

To pay using a credit card you must submit your entry on-line. An on-line entry form is available for submission on the website. Credit cards are processed through PayPal. Submit online (see below) – Submission Deadline: 11:59 PM EST, February 2, 2020.
NEW: Payment is also accepted by e-transfer. To get e-transfer instructions, please email (do not send e-transfer to that address).

Judging Process

Bios of the Judges will be posted on the website asap after judges are confirmed. If possible, at least one or all of the Judges will attend the awards reception. 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 a “blind” judging process using monitors and small proof prints.

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 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 for an explanation)


If your photograph(s) are selected for exhibit, you will be notified in advance of the exhibit awards reception by email. Selected photographers will have their names published in the e-newsletter. Prize winners will be announced at the exhibit reception (date TBC). SPARK will not notify entrants whose work has not been selected for exhibit.

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.

Technical Specifications

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

Recommended 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.

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 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 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.

What happens to the 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 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 with a Festival Director employee.

Submission of image(s) does not guarantee inclusion in the exhibit Motion. 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 only, in any media without restriction for one calendar year starting March 1, 2020 and continuing until March 1, 2021.

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.

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 credit.

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

If not submitting on-line: Ship/Mail Submission to:
SPARK Juried Exhibit
c/o Package Plus
Box 278, 171A Rink St., Peterborough, ON, K9J 2J6

Payment By Mail

2020 Mail-in Juried Entry Form (download)

If submitting by mail or courier, 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 or E-transfer

To pay using a credit card or e-transfer 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: