Local artist’s photo wins Smithsonian competition

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chilton County artist Sarah Jackson had seen many times a photograph she took of an octopus years ago, but never in a magazine or museum.

That was before Jackson’s photograph, which she calls “Negative Octopus,” won first place in the Altered Images category of the Smithsonian Institute’s ninth annual international photography competition.

“I have been a member of the Smithsonian for over 15 years, and now this,” Jackson said. “I have been recognized for doing what I love most: art and photography. I am extremely grateful and honored.”

Jackson’s entry was one of 260,000 entries from more than 90 countries.

Her photograph, along with other winning photographs in this year’s competition, was published in the July 2012 edition of Smithsonian Magazine.

Jackson said her image occupies an entire page of the competition article in the magazine, which hit bookstores July 5.

“I actually have a copy of the magazine, and it is so cool,” Jackson said. “It still hasn’t sunk in. It is definitely one of the highlights of my creative career.”

In addition, all of the winning photographs will be displayed in the Smithsonian’s Castle building starting in August.

Jackson and her family are planning a trip to Washington, D.C. in September to see her photograph and tour the capital.

“My husband says, ‘You have to stand next to it,’” she said. “The whole family is so excited. The kids are already doing their research and deciding which museums they want to visit.”

Jackson has already entered three photos in this year’s Smithsonian contest and recently finished painting a poster for the SafeHouse of Shelby County/Birmingham event, Jeans and Jewels, in March.

“I absolutely love donating my gifts and talents to benefit others through these great projects,” Jackson said. “The SafeHouse gig is very close to my heart, so I spent a lot of time on that idea. Who knows what will come along next!”