Originally created 12/24/06

Photo contest will help promote South Carolina's rural conference



Amateur photographers can receive recognition for their work and showcase rural South Carolina in the state Department of Commerce's third annual amateur rural photography contest.

The competition is part of preparations for the 17th annual South Carolina Rural Summit, to be held March 5-6 in North Charleston.

Photos must be the original work of the applicant and feature a rural aspect of South Carolina. Photos, which can be color or black-and-white, must be submitted as an 8-by-10-inch image. The photographer's name, title of the photograph and completed registration and release forms must be submitted with the image.

The entry deadline is Jan. 15.

Cash prizes of $500, $250 and $100 will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place winners.

"The winning photos are used in a calendar that we distribute as a thank-you to people," said Karen Owens, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce.

She said about 300 people entered the contest last year. A panel reviews the submissions, she said, and the top 12 are displayed at the conference.

Those attending the summit, which drew about 200 people last year, vote for the winners.

She said the contest also is designed to generate interest in the summit.

"It's a great opportunity for these community leaders to hear about other ideas from outside our state," Ms. Owens said.

The theme of the summit, which will feature two international speakers, is Community Development for a Changing World.

Michael MacNulty, of Ireland, will talk about promoting rural tourism as an economic development catalyst. Australia's Peter Kenyon will share ideas for creating business success.

Other topics of discussion include recruiting the film industry to rural communities; the effect the growing number of retirees in South Carolina has on small towns; work-force readiness as part of a strategic plan; and developing a sense of place in downtown areas.

Registration and release forms for the contest are available at the commerce department's Web site at www.sccommerce.com/scrs2007/PhotoContest.html.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext .113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.