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The Ravalli County Museum is hosting their Ernst Peterson Photograph Montana Competition and Exhibit following a yearlong hiatus.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 17.

The theme this year is “Iconic Re-creations: History Buffs & Shutterbugs” and the challenge is to copy the style of Ernst Peterson or other masters.

Sarah Monson, marketing executive for the Ravalli County Museum, said the contest brings creativity.

“We’re excited to welcome people back to participate in this community exhibit and we are hoping they will have fun with this year’s theme,” she said. “It is a little re-creation recreation and I am looking forward to seeing what people come up with.”

Examples include photographically re-creating a da Vinci painting or a posed photo like the famous one of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt flying up.

Monson said that in addition to challenging photographers with copying the painting masters, the museum is inviting them to copy Peterson’s style or a famous photograph. Entries that copy a painting or famous photo need to have the original as part of the entry. Entries that copy Peterson’s style only need to have “Peterson style” written on the back.

Other photo challenge categories have been simplified and include: idiosyncratic, scenic, humans, animals and beyond Montana.

The “idiosyncratic” category is defined as “an unusual image, taken from a perspective that helps you see something in a whole new way, such as an extreme close-up (macro) or an image that has been digitally manipulated.”

The “scenic” category can be “a pretty picture, idyllic in nature, such as buildings, flowers, vehicles, landscapes, skyscapes, rivers or lakes.”

The “humans” category includes portraiture and candid shots of a person or people.

The “animals” category includes “domestic or wild, any creature, great or small that is not human.”

The “Beyond Montana” category is of any place beyond the borders of our state.

The size specifications has been widened so photographers can enter smaller or larger images.

Monson said entries are due by Jan. 17, but the museum will accept late submissions as long as there is room to hang them prior to the exhibit opening, which takes place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31. There will be an award ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21. The exhibit closes on Thursday, April 11.

Ribbons will be awarded in all categories, with special prizes for winners in the themed category. There will also be a people’s choice award and a best in show award.

Montana native son Ernst Peterson was a renowned photographer whose works were featured in National Geographic, Field and Stream, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentlemen. Major calendar companies sought his work, and corporations like Anaconda Company, Dow Chemical, and Montana Power Company used his photos for advertisements and year-end reports.

The Ravalli County Museum houses Peterson’s collection and has hosted the Ernst Peterson Photo Competition and Exhibit for 25 years. The contest raises funds to help cover the cost of digitization of the vast Peterson collection, which includes over 22,000 photographs, slides and negatives. For several years now Ken McBride and other volunteers have digitized thousands of images.

This year, the contest and exhibit are sponsored by Joe’s Studio.

The Ravalli County Museum has several Peterson images available as examples and applications for the photo contest can be downloaded at ravallimuseum.org. Applications are also available at the museum 205 Bedford St., in Hamilton. The museum also has a Facebook group for suggesting future themes, look on Facebook under Ernst Peterson Photo Contest Inspiration Station.

Tamar Stanley, executive director of the museum, said since the first Ernst Peterson Photographic Exhibit in 1992 it has earned a reputation as a regional favorite.

“When we mount this exhibit we do so with great pride and care for his original material,” Stanley said. “Ernst was a sincere naturalist who showed great resourcefulness and enterprise to get to the most out of the way places; this enabled him to capture that one of a kind shot. His captivating imageries of the ‘way it was’ hold a fascination for photographers, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers of today.”

The Ernst Peterson collection is the largest the museum holds in trust and preserves for future generations.

Stanley said the exclusive collection has many facets and new themes for each installment of the contest.

“As part of this year’s display we will be showcasing some of his larger pictures where he mastered the technique of hand tinting his work by applying oil paint to black and white photos,” Stanley said. “Those larger than life images give vitality and dimension to his chosen subject.”

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