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It's All About Perspective

Top photo contest winners capture the best of the
South with these remarkable images.

Thomas Wolfe, the great Southern-born author, wrote, “I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once” in his classic novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. For dozens of photographers who entered this year’s Best of the South photo contest, seeing familiar sights around them in new ways made quite a collection of interesting images.

Beautiful entries included shimmering sunsets over bayous or the Ozark Mountains, scenic countrysides, Southern wildlife, and various waterways. Cameras and trained eyes also were pointed at historical homes and bridges.

As always, it’s not an easy task to choose just three winners and a runner-up, but our panel pored over scores of wonderful entries and selected the following photographs based on not only how the images captured the essence of the South, but on the technical aspects of the photo and its composition. It’s our pleasure to present this year’s Best of the South photo contest winners.


Daren Brenneise
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

Bridge Beauty

It’s safe to say that Daren Brenneise has set the bar pretty high for himself. A new photographer, Brenneise captured this year’s first-place photo. He decided to photograph the Junction Bridge, which is suspended over the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Ark. Originally built to carry trains, it’s now a pedestrian-only bridge.

“I don’t live too far away from the bridge, and I see it every day while driving to work,” Brenneise says. He became interested in how the skyline was complemented by the bridge, and he set about capturing the landmark at night.

“When I first saw the photograph on my camera, I knew I had work to do,” he says. Brenneise went home and worked on adjusting the many light sources in the photograph. He stated that he “picked at the little things,” and the photo exceeded his expectations.

Being a beginner at photography, Brenneise says he was excited to find out he’d won the contest knowing that there were surely more experienced photographers with entries in the contest. But he notes that he’s gaining experience with every photo he takes.

“I now take photos at least once a week,” he says. “I literally bought a refurbished camera online and just started to take photos.” He now loves to shoot the River Market area in Little Rock, which is close to the Junction Bridge.

The new photographer advises that if somebody is interested in photography, it’s important to really learn how to use the camera.

“Just go out there and take photos,” he says.


Chris King
Location: Rolling Fork, Mississippi

Mississippi Delta Masterpiece

Chris King chose to photograph an iconic Mississippi house, Mont Helena, which is built on a Native American mound. The photo not only captures the pure beauty of the house, with its grand colonial architecture, but also the loveliness of the sprawling landscape.

“I was surprised when I initially saw the photos… I’ve never seen the sky like that,” King says. The lilac and blue hues nicely contrast with the green foliage below.

King loves to go around Mississippi and capture the simple beauty of the state, and his favorite place to photograph is the territory between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, also known as the Mississippi Delta.

“You never know what you’re going to see,” King states. “I love the silos and barns.”

King has been involved in photography for a long time, and he remembers shooting with film. He reminisced on the times when he was newly married and money was tight.

“I had to shoot in black and white because (color) film was so expensive,” he recalls. Back then, he took photographs with a Nikon F3 camera.

“I like digital because taking photographs got a lot easier and a lot cheaper,” he says. And while digital is the most popular way to take photos for the majority of photographers today, King says he still likes to use film from time to time. He has two vintage cameras, one being a 1978 Nikon.


Harold Hutson
Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas

The Old Mill

Harold Hutson is another winner who decided to capture an historical place. The Old Mill at T.R. Pugh Memorial Park is located in North Little Rock, Ark. It’s a quaint little mill that’s surrounded by lush gardens and a forest throughout the year. Since it’s such a ravishing park, many weddings and other photo opportunities are shot at the Old Mill.

“You know, the Old Mill is in the opening scene in Gone With The Wind,” Hutson says, adding that is one of the reasons that makes the Old Mill such an impressive place. Hutson has photographed the mill multiple times because of its rich history and because the setting is so picturesque.

In his photograph, the beautiful foliage is hard to look past, as the little mill is tucked away in some strikingly green trees. The composition of the photograph gives the viewer a sense of the friendship between the little old mill with the young and vibrant botanicals. It’s interesting how the two factors are so different from one another, yet they’re there together in perfect harmony.

Hutson has had photography as his hobby for as long as he can remember. And at 85 years old, he’s seen some pretty amazing transformations with the technology of cameras. He likes the ease of digital photography, because “it’s easier to manage. You can review the pictures right there and delete the ones you don’t like,” he states.

“You don’t want anything too distracting in the background,” Hutson says when being asked to give advice to any new photographers. He stresses the importance of learning about simple composition factors.

“Shooting in overcast is better, because there’s no distracting shadows,” he says. Hutson also advises to learn about the fundamentals before going out and shooting.



Jack Schell

Location: Louisiana Gulf Coast

sunset To see the memorable mention entries of the 2016 Best of the South photo contest, click here.

Ogden Museum shares a road trip retrospective

In the summer of 1974, Raymond Smith set out from New England to California in a Volkswagen Beetle. Car trouble ended his journey in Kansas City, Mo., but not before he took hundreds of photos of people and places in the South and Midwest.

Through Sept. 18, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, La., is displaying many of those images in an exhibition called “In Time We Shall Know Ourselves: Photographs by Raymond Smith.” The exhibition is organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Ala.

For Ogden Museum hours and details, call (504) 539-9650 or visit online at


Raymond Smith, “Rural Highway, Southern Georgia, after rainstorm” 1974, Gelatin Silver Print, Collection of the Artist

July/August 2016 Issue

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