In Riverside, a photography exhibition tells ‘a million different stories’

The Midwest Center for Photography’s annual juried exhibition is a well-balanced survey of contemporary work in five categories: architecture, close-up, documentary, landscape, and people.

In Riverside, a photography exhibition tells ‘a million different stories’
Wichita's Riverside neighborhood is home to the Midwest Center for Photography, which hosted its 15th annual juried exhibition this month. Photo by Naomi Shapiro for the SHOUT.

"2024 Midwest Center for Photography Juried Exhibition"
April 5-26, 2024 at MWCP, 1215 Franklin St. in Wichita
Open by appointment

The 84 photographs in the "2024 Midwest Center for Photography Juried Exhibition" represent work by 34 different artists from around the world.

It could be overwhelming to see so many images displayed at once in a compact gallery space, but the exhibition is exceptionally well balanced, grouped within its five designated entry categories: architecture, close-up, documentary, landscape, and people.

Moving clockwise through the gallery, you’re taken on a journey through mountainscapes and waves crashing against seawalls. Glimpses of desert, ocean, plains, and urban landscapes are all represented here, with just sky and clouds tying them together.. The images give the viewer a sense of looking out windows, perhaps even train windows, with a sense of movement. The wanderlust is palpable.

The architecture category is made up of bold graphics, full of reflections, spirals, and grids that immediately grab you. Then you turn the corner into the people and documentary sections (the lines blur), and you’re pulled into a million different stories that make you want to know more. That lady on the porch, what book is she reading? And what’s going on behind the blue curtain? Gallery Director Linda Robinson says one of the most fascinating things about themed competition entries is waiting to see what artist comes up with, and that is what keeps it fresh. The theme of the May exhibition is “Green.”

Robinson established MWCP in the heart of the Douglas Design District in 2008 so that photographers like herself would have a commercial gallery space to show their work. After experimenting with different exhibition styles over the years, including invitational solo and group shows, juried entry exhibitions have proven to be the most consistent way to both offset exhibition costs and offer awards to emerging and nationally and internationally recognized mid-career artists.

Linda Robinson established the Midwest Center for Photography in 2008 to provide a gallery space where photographers could sell their work. The gallery is open for First Friday receptions and by appointment. Photo by Naomi Shapiro for the SHOUT.

MWCP is now tucked in the bucolic Riverside neighborhood and offers printing and framing services for local photographers and artists.

2024 marks the 15th annual MCWP Juried Exhibition, which exists both in the gallery here in Wichita and as an online virtual exhibition. On April 26, $500 in Director’s Choice Cash Prizes will be awarded: $100 for each category winner and a “people’s choice” honorable mention in each category. I would encourage setting up an appointment to see the exhibition, and the gallery, if you haven’t yet had a chance to visit.

Although a few of the 34 photographers featured in this year’s Juried Exhibition are from Wichita, Robinson says she would like to see more locals submitting work, especially for the bigger exhibitions like this one. “With the internet, we can get submissions from all over the world, but it is surprising that more local photographers don’t submit more often.”

Open calls for entries from the Midwest Center for Photography

Naomi Shapiro is a communication specialist with the City of Wichita. She grew up in Hawaii and Texas, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from The Evergreen State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from the University of Memphis. She is the co-founder of Digital Wichita and is also a sustaining member of Junior League of Wichita and Wichita AIGA.

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