8th Annual Hot Shot Photo Contest, July 4th

8th Annual Hot Shot Photo Contest, July 4th

The submission form for the 8th annual Telluride Hot Shot Photography contest is live all day on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Takes just a few minutes to fill it out and entry is free. Enter and win one of 13 cash prizes, plus customized stamps. Whether or not you submit, please check out the website and vote for your 2017 favorite. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at noon.

Floats, flyovers, a public BBQ, an outdoor Impressionist art show – thanks to the Sheridan Arts Foundation– and stamps. (See related story on the SAF’s Telluride Plein Air.)

All part of the Fourth of July package in Telluride.

Yes, stamps.

The tie that binds is the (8th) annual Hot Shot Photo Contest.

Photography today in vastly different in these early years of the 21st century, no longer the direct result of light exposed to film, or necessarily lens-based. As digital technologies have all but replaced the chemical process, the art form has become a shape-shifting medium that includes, but is not limited to iPhone, scanner, and Photoshop imagery.

The Hot Shot Photo Contest is the brainchild of Bill and Katrine Formby, who launched the event in 2010 after chillaxing at at Mexican resort. The entrepreneurial couple happened to be at the spa during “Photography Week,” when the place was holding a daily one-hour session on the medium. Katrine participated and remembered the fun she had.

Hot Shot is co-sponsored by The Nugget Building, the Ah Haa School for the Arts, the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department, and Telluride Inside… and Out.

Like Telluride’s big parade itself, Hot Shot is a tribute to all things Norman Rockwell – on steroids. It is also agnostic to all the technical distinctions in the field and remains open to anyone and everyone who happens to be in San Miguel County on July 4, 2017, and chooses to document the madcap celebration  – in any format.

“When starting the contest we debated about accepting photo-shopped submissions,” explained Katrine. “But we decided that yes, enhancing a picture is a form of creative expression and therefore part of being an artist. We concluded photo-shopped pictures could and should compete for prizes.”

Images are submitted here, then a panel of judges picks the best of the best and awards cash prizes – 1st ($1,000), 2nd ($300) and 3rd ($100) –  plus 10 Honorable Mention Stand-Out Awards.

And the stamps?

“About five years ago, I got the idea of awarding stamps to the winners –  in addition to their cash prizes – when I received a creative wedding invitation in the mail,” added Katrine. “The image of the stamp was the bride and groom’s engagement photograph. It made me smile. I then did some research and discovered the U.S. Post Office recognizes these unconventional stamps as valid if they include a certain barcode. Only a few companies are sanctioned by the U.S. Post Office to create these special stamps. We chose zazzle.com.”

In 2012,. Hot Shot added the “Audience Choice” category.

“We wanted the prize for Audience Choice to be a little different, so we decided instead of cash, those winners would receive 100 U.S. postage stamps featuring the winning image on each. (The value is approximately $120.),” said Katrine.

By 2014, Hot Shot decided that all the winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 10 honorable mentions) would each receive a sheet of stamps (20 stamps) featuring their winning “hot shot.”

Daniel Tucker founded Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts in 1991 based on the idea that everyone is creative. All it takes is the right place, the right time, and the right circumstances for a person to channel his inner Picasso – or Brassai.

Hot Shot could be your defining moment.

The criteria for choosing Hot Shot winners includes artistic expression, creativity, originality, image quality.

Why not, ahem, stamp your image on America’s Big Day?


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