Modern Landscape Photography Contest Finalists

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Modern Landscape Photography Contest Finalists

By Sarah R, Smith, Director of External Relations | @SarahatReynolda

Reynolda House Museum of American Art and Modern Automotive have announced the three finalists in “The Modern Landscape: Black and White Photography Contest,” a competition that celebrates the inspiring beauty of the magnificent American landscape, exemplified by the work of artist-photographer, Ansel Adams. The photography contest is part of Modern Automotive’s major sponsorship of Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light.

More than 300 individuals submitted photographs to the competition between Jan. 1 and March 10. A panel of three jurors, all professional photographers and artists, reviewed all entries and selected three finalists:

“Black Water Reflections” by Glenn Thompson “Black Water Reflections” by Glenn Thompson

“Mesa Arch Sunrise” by J.J. Raia“Mesa Arch Sunrise” by J.J. Raia

“Steadfast” by Sharon Canter“Steadfast” by Sharon Canter 

Reproductions of the three finalists’ photographs will be on display at several locations between April 5 and May 13. The public may vote for their favorite in person at any location listed below, and may vote only once. 

  • Modern Automotive Dealerships
    located throughout the Piedmont Triad and Northwest North Carolina  
  • Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 251 Spruce St. N.
  • Winston-Salem Visitors Center, 200 Brookstown Ave.

The overall contest winner will be decided based on number of votes and will be announced on International Museum Day, Wednesday, May 18, at Reynolda House. 


Glenn Thompson “Black Water Reflections”

Glenn’s journey with photography began when he was just 11 years old. With a special passion for black and white photography, Glenn built 2 dark rooms through the years while pursuing his hobby. Life took him in a different direction for a while so he stowed his camera equipment away. But 12 years ago, he rekindled his passion, and the photograph that became his entry in the Modern Landscape Black and White Photography Contest came about in 2011.

The photo, taken in Rio Negro, Brazil, was obtained while searching for birds and monkeys as subjects. But Glenn recognized that the scenery in the middle of the Amazon was also remarkable. He says he composed the photo specifically for black and white and even said to himself afterward that it was the most “Ansel Adams-like” photo he’d ever done. A lifelong fan, and owner of several coffee table books of Adams’ work, Glenn couldn’t be more proud to be a finalist in a photography contest in Adams’ honor. And his first contest ever!

A family member local to Winston Salem suggested that he enter the contest and sent him the information. Glenn decided to conduct an informal survey of his Facebook fans and posted several of his photos from which they could help him choose his submission.

Glenn is retired and resides in Butler, Pennsylvania with his wife.

J.J. Raia “Mesa Arch Sunrise”

J.J. Raia took up photography in 1990, and says that now that he’s retired he has more time to spend on his hobby. His entry photo to the Modern Landscape Black and White Photography Contest was taken in October 2014. J.J. was on a month-long trip out west to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. He “lived” in a SUV while exploring and photographing the area. After running into a group who recommended a good place for panoramic opportunities, he came upon the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, and captured the view that became his entry.

J.J. found out about the photography contest from a contact in a club he is a member of who had seen information about the Ansel Adams exhibit and suggested the contest to him.  He is very happy to have been chosen as a finalist.

J.J. lives with his wife in Cary, NC.

Sharon Canter “Steadfast”

Sharon took a photography class 7 years ago, and her hobby was born. She says she’s not really a professional but she does sell some of her work. And her passion keeps her from ever having a real vacation since she’s always scheduling her time to ensure she can catch the right lighting or making plans to find the areas she most wants to capture with her lens. Her primary love is landscape photography.

Sharon shot her entry image for the Modern Landscape Black and White Photography Contest in Edisto Island, SC at Botany Bay, during Easter 2012. She says it was one of those vacation days when she wanted to catch the light on the water and headed out, only to find that it was not going to be the sunny day she hoped for, but cloudy and foggy instead. So she made the best of it and found that the water on the sand and pebbles and the fog and waves were providing an opportunity for a whole new direction. She spent most of the day taking photos at various exposures to get just the right one. And she got lots of exercise running back and forth to avoid the waves while she got the best perspective from standing in the water! The skeleton trees provided the perfect focal point to the image.

Sharon lives with her husband in High Point, NC.


Endia Beal is a North Carolina-based artist, educator and activist, who is internationally known for her photographic narratives and video testimonies that examine the personal, yet contemporary stories of minority women working within the corporate space. Beal currently serves as the Director of Diggs Gallery and Assistant Professor of Art at Winston-Salem State University.

Following graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill with a dual bachelor’s degree in Art History and Studio Art, Beal was one of four women nationally selected to participate in ArtTable, a program designed to promote women in the visual arts. Beal used this experience as a platform to advocate for minority opportunities within the arts and was instrumental in creating marketing campaigns that redefined the way minority communities interact with art.

In 2013, Beal graduated from Yale School of Art, with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography. While attending Yale, she created “Can I Touch It?” a body of work that explores the relationship of black women within the corporate space. Her work was fully developed during the artist-in-residence program at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Beal aligns herself with artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Lorna Simpson, who use stories as the vehicle to question conformity and gender norms.

Bowman Gray IV is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. Having borrowed his mother’s 35mm camera for first time at age 13 he began to simply see more. Inspired by Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston,  he accepted his first unpaid assignment of photographing historic sites in Bethania, NC for a book that was written in honor of its 250th anniversary in 2009 (Bethania: The Village By The Black Walnut Bottom; Bevelry Hamel). With a primary focus on landscape and still life, Gray has also been commissioned to photograph celebrities such as Mariel Hemingway, Richard Petty and Vice President Biden. Additionally, he shoots national sporting events and concerts. His work is currently on display in public, private and institutional collections around the US. In 2010 Gray published his first book of photographs in a coffee table reprint of James Allen's 1909 classic  As A Man Thinketh. Gray still lives in Winston-Salem with his family.

Brook Reynolds is a fine art photographer living in Asheville, NC. She received a BA in Art History from Emory University and a MFA in Photography from The University of Georgia. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and belongs in the collections of several major museums, including The Lishui Photography Museum in China, The Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Selections from her series on abandoned gas stations, titled “Light, Sweet, Crude,” were included in The New Mexico Museum of Art’s exhibition and accompanying publication, “Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment.” Born in Winston-Salem, NC and educated mostly in GA, she has finally settled in Western NC to explore her interests in nature, art, and spirituality. She concentrates on projects that relate to her environmental concerns and reflect her spiritual connection to nature. 

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