The Photo Finale winners from the first Napa Valley Mustard Celebration

YOUNTVILLE — The exhibition of entries in the first Photo Finale, part of the Napa Valley Mustard Celebration, is on display at the Jessup Cellars Gallery in Yountville through March 31. 

The open invitation photography competition is the brainchild of Napa Valley photographer MJ Schaer, who started working on the idea in September 2022. Schaer said his goal was “to attract professional and amateur photographers throughout the wine country to break out their cameras and capture that one-of-a-kind image.”

Schaer, who served director as well as founder for the inaugural photo competition, said he was pleased with the response, which brought in 72 submissions from 44 photographers, all studies of the wild mustard plant that blooms in profusion throughout the valley and serves as a cover crop in vineyards during the winter.

The show opened at Jessup on March 4. It “celebrates nature’s unmatched ‘yellow gold’ beauty and (the) splendor of the winter mustard bloom that blankets Napa Valley’s landscape and vineyards, up and down the valley from December through March,” Schaer said. 

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Photographers had four categories from which to choose: landscape; people/pets; innovative and food and wine.

Judging from the winners, dogs proved to be a popular choice for subjects appreciating mustard. 

Schaer said the first, second, third and honorable mentions ribbons have been awarded to the top four photographs in each of the 2023 categories.

— First place: Dean Busquaert

— Second place: MJ Schaer

— Third place: Nancy Hernandez

— Honorable Mention: Jena Kaeppeli

— First place: Kennedy Schultz

— Second place: Lyra Nerona

— Third place: Marilyn Ferrante

— Honorable Mention: Ronda Schaer

— First place: Francine Marie

— Second place: Katherine Zimmer

— Third place: Francine Marie

— Honorable Mention: Hilary Brodey

There were no entries in the food and wine category this year, Schaer said. 

Voting for Peoples’ Choice is open until March 29 in the Gallery at Jessup Cellars, Schaer said. The Peoples’ Choice award will be announced on March 30 at the closing reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The show “has been a big success,” Schaer said. “Plans for 2024 are already in the works.

“I am so pleased with the entry submissions by professional and amateur photographers,” he said. “The unique facility at Jessup Cellars Gallery gives the exhibition a true wine country setting and experience.

“This year, Nature’s Mustard Plant is getting the recognition throughout Napa Valley that it deserves.”

Artist Jessel Miller, owner of the Jessel Gallery in Napa, led the effort to re-establish a winter celebration of mustard after the demise of the Napa Valley Mustard Festival in 2010. The idea took off this year, inspiring everything from mustard infused menus at restaurants to mustard treatments at local spas, as well as mustard-inspired art. 

A complete list of Mustard Celebration activities can be found on the website,

Photo Finale 2023 exhibition at Jessup Cellars Gallery, 6740 Washington Street, Yountville, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. The photographs are available for purchase. For more information, visit the 

Check out Napa Valley’s 2021 mustard bloom. The yellow flower has carpeted the valley.

Lovely Linda: New exhibit showcases McCartney’s photography skills | Currents Feature

click to enlarge

(Credit: © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney).

Linda by Paul. London, 1968

The land of majestic saguaros attracts many visitors from across the pond each year. The diverse and prickly plant species that stand tall, like guardians that watch over the Sonoran Desert that is home to many resilient creatures. Even the kaleidoscope-colored sunsets are second to none. Many who leave, inevitably get back to where they once belonged.

Perhaps these are just a few reasons why Linda McCartney (nee Eastman) felt a kinship to Tucson.

UA’s Center for Creative Photography is hosting the North American premiere of, “The Linda McCartney Retrospective,” from Saturday, Feb. 25, to Saturday, Aug. 5.

It celebrates McCartney’s barrier-breaking career that spanned across three decades.

“We will have not only the exhibition at the CCP, but also an incredible range of campus and community events and opportunities for engagement,” said Andrew Schulz, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

The exhibition, which will include about 200 pieces, will be divided into three broad groupings including “Artists,” “Family” and “Photographic Exploration.” McCartney’s work opens avenues for investigation and exploration, Schulz said.

Roots in Tucson

Born and raised in New York state, McCartney was an UA art history student. Her formal photography training extended to just two lessons at a night school.

Once she married Paul McCartney, the two bought land here in Tucson, a ranch in the Tanque Verde area, near the Rincon Mountains.

“In addition to exposing the public to Linda McCartney’s iconic work, this collection will allow our students and faculty throughout the university to learn from her innovative creative process and devotion to important societal issues,” said UA president Robert C. Robbins in a statement.

“The McCartney exhibit is allowing us to really showcase the other extraordinary pieces of the CCP,” added Staci Santa, interim director of the Center for Creative Photography. “A lot of people don’t know that we have a robust archives collection and the breadth of work we have under that little roof, millions of objects and for us to be able to showcase that in a meaningful way while we’re engaging the music scene in Tucson.”

The Center for Creative Photography houses the work of more than 2,200 photographers including co-founder Ansel Adams, David Hume Kennerly, Lola Alvarez Bravo and W. Eugene Smith and houses close to 9 million objects.

Rebecca Senf, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography, said it has an extensive history with the McCartney family in addition to their long-standing relationship to Tucson.

“I think the landscape here meant a tremendous amount to her and she’s a horsewoman so being in Tucson allowed them to keep horses,” Senf said.

A McCartney archive is in London where Paul and their children live. Senf and Megan Jackson Fox, associate curator of the Center for Creative Photography, visited the archive to see primary source documents and talk with the archivist Sarah Brown about McCartney’s work.

“Being in the archive and working with the archivist allowed us to do a kind of research that augmented the retrospective as it was seen in other locations,” Senf said.

In terms of Tucson, Senf said Fox is doing a show about McCartney’s teacher, Hazel Larsen Archer, which expands the discussion about McCartney’s photographic education as it happened in Tucson.

Archer was an American female photographer during the 20th century, who attended and taught at Black Mountain College in Black Mountain, North Carolina. It was a hub for intermedia, cross-medium avant-garde work in the United States for dance or photography for painters, musicians and architects.

The “vibrant community” was known for matriculating influential individuals of the latter half of the twentieth century including Willem de Kooning, whose work “Woman-Ochre”’ was recently returned to the UA’s Museum of Art after being stolen in 1985.

In Tucson, Archer worked at Pima Community College and the Tucson Art Center, later known as the Tucson Museum of Art. She also helped found other colleges as a photographer, photo educator and art educator.

“She brought all of that knowledge, energy and dynamism with her,” Fox said. “That was really the foundation for Linda McCartney and her education in photography.”

Senf said the Center for Creative Photography wanted to explore McCartney’s work further and look at how she had experimented in photography through her process and practice by analyzing the results she had obtained through various experimentations.

click to enlarge

(Photo Courtesy of UA Center for Creative Photography)

Jimi Hendrix. London, 1967, © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney.

Curating the exhibit

To curate the exhibit, Fox said, took intensive research. From the McCartney archives to the Archer estate in Tucson. Fox said she worked closely with it and Archer’s daughter.

“We have a really long runway for creating these exhibitions, they can be three to five years if not more,” Fox said.

Additionally, about 50 undergraduate students from the college of humanities are working with the Center for Creative Photography, learning from the Archer images, materials from the McCartney exhibit and El Pueblo Neighborhood Center and building community projects.

“We’ll have the Hazel Larsen Archer exhibition open with the McCartney exhibition and then in May we will put the students’ projects in the center of that exhibition,” Fox said. “So, you have this intergenerational conversation happening.”

As a photo historian, Senf said that one of the center’s strengths is moving from archive to exhibition and using materials so audiences can benefit from the wealth of an archive.

“I think that it was really fun writing the labels of the musicians’ section because I was imagining various audience members seeing pictures of Neil Young, Jim Morrison or Bob Dylan from the time that they were young and listening to these musicians as young people,” Senf said.

The Center for Creative Photography has been working with students from the Honors College, building audio tour guides for the exhibition. “Sir Paul McCartney has even offered to respond to any of their questions that they have,” Fox said.

McCartney’s photographs include some of the greatest artists and cultural icons of all time such as Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and, of course, The Beatles.

“These are people who changed the course of American culture and Western culture and so it was really interesting to think about all of that and how to provide the supporting information that would allow different audiences to deeply appreciate the photographs that were there,” Senf said.

The more profound images include intimate family photographs of Paul, Linda and their children. Of Linda McCartney’s level of fame and visibility, Senf said that she displays a level of joy of family life the way anyone else might or playfulness between two romantic partners.

“I think she did a really exceptional job of making people comfortable in the presence of the camera so that you see people in a candid way,” Senf said. “The way she helped people feel at ease and able to be more themselves.”

McCartney’s techniques

McCartney mostly worked with a 35-millimeter handheld camera, which Senf said suits her style and her approach, allowing her to be more spontaneous and less obtrusive.

The exhibition will also include a group of about 60 Polaroids, or facsimiles of Polaroids because Polaroids fade really quickly when exposed to light. This feature of the exhibition can convey to the audience McCartney’s spontaneity and snapshots of casual moments.

“If you think about Linda McCartney as the centerpiece of the project, then everything is kind of coming from and inspired by her right as a photographer, as a person as an activist,” Fox said.

Calling the exhibition the heartbeat of McCartney’s photography, Fox said that there will be an accompanying lecture series starting on opening day.

“Women’s rights were an important part of her activism and her interests and so we’re going to have two photographers who are also entrepreneurs who are going to come and speak about their projects, on women in photography and what they’re doing to help amplify women in photography and to help steward their careers inside of the larger photographic field,” Fox said.

McCartney who was also a food and animal activist was well known for her vegetarian lifestyle. Fox said that the Center for Creative Photography will have a photographer and artist who works at the intersection of food studies talk about her work inspired by indigenous foods.

In addition to the lecture series, the Center for Creative Photography is planning pop-up community tables at the Children’s Museum, farmers markets and the Phoenix Art Museum to talk about sustainability and food issues, food equity in relation to photography.

“That’s another way for us to build bridges from the institution to your everyday world and I think that’s really important that we break the four walls of a gallery so that we are very open,” Fox said.

The Center for Creative Photography will also have weekly live performances from musicians. “That also harks back to Linda for her love of music and her relationship to music over the context of her life,” Fox said. “We’re trying to create doorways for every interest.”

Fox said that she hopes museum visitors get to know McCartney as an amazing photographer, but also as someone who had a variety of interests.

“You bring all of that life into an image and into a practice,” Fox said. “I hope we as an institution continue to do this for the photographers that we exhibit, that we show this entirety of a person and what that means to the photographs themselves.”

Gilavar Photo Club whips up interest in keen photographers [PHOTO]

Through its multifaceted activities, the Gilavar Photo Club
successfully contributes to the country’s photography art.

Founded in 2017, the Gilavar Photo Club aims at discovering and
supporting talented photographers.

The club’s participants are actively engaged in local and
international photo contests. Since 2017, the photo club has been a
member of the International Association of Art Photographers. In
2020, the Gilavar Photo Club became Azerbaijan’s official
representative at the association.

2023 marks the fifth anniversary of the photo club that promotes
photography art in the country and beyond its borders.

On this occasion, the Gilavar Photo Club awarded some of the
best photographers in the “Stills 2022” competition.

The awarding ceremony took place at the Baku Youth Center and
brought together many officials, photographers, press secretaries,
and mass media representatives.

Chairman of the Gilavar Photo Club Board of Directors Rashad
Mehdiyev addressed the event. In his speech, he listed a number of
projects implemented by the photo club over the past years.

Over this time, the photo club organized over 10 international
photo contests with the special permission of the International
Federation of Photographic Art, Photographic Society of America

At the same time, over 4,000 photographers from about 80
countries participated in international photo contests organized by
the club.

Mehdiyev noted that for the first time, the club launched a
competition called “Azerbaijan Press Photo” – “Press Photo of the
Year” in the field of photojournalism.

Founder of the Gilavar Photo Club Dilavar Najafov and the
Gilavar Photo Club Board of Directors Rashad Mehdiyev spoke about
the photo club’s main objectives.

Gilavar Photo Club’s main goals include the search for talented
photographers and photography art development in the country.

The photo club supports the participation of photographers in
international photo contests and arouses interest in anyone keen on

Next, the Gilavar Photo Club awarded Azerbaijani photographers,
who distinguished themselves in international competitions as well
as the winners of “Photo shoots 2022” and “Azerbaijan Press Photo”

Furthermore, the guests of the ceremony viewed a photo
exhibition held as part of the event.

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

Entries arriving for February nature art showcase | News

Entries for the Council on Greenways and Trails’ February Nature Art Showcase and Sale have started to arrive.

Among the original artwork depicting outdoor recreation, natural resources, and landscapes already registered, included are acrylic paintings, oil paintings, traditional and digital photography, alcohol ink on tiles, fabrics dyed with botanical items, wooden plaques, and other media.

This free public display is held in the lobby of the Barrow-Civic Theatre in downtown Franklin that Feb. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For example, Anna Applegate is an amateur artist who resides in Pinegrove Township in Venango County. She dabbles in nature photography and painting; one of her entries is shown with this article. Entitled “A Brief Pause,” the full-color digital photograph captures a female ruby-throated hummingbird hovering by an orange blossom.

Franklin’s Neal Parker had a long career in conservation and art; in the 1980s his paintings tended to focus on wildlife, but then he waited another 29 years before to returning to painting. He will share with showcase attendees the second painting he completed after that long pause; it’s acrylic on Masonite, entitled “Wood Fern.” Each participating artist may enter one or two items of any size in the seventh annual Nature Art Showcase and Sale, conducted indoors during the “Franklin On Ice” Festival.

Artist registrations are free, but they need to be received by Jan. 18 in order for the information to be included in a complimentary printed program provided to all guests. Registration packets may be picked up in person at the Clarion Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Titusville Council on the Arts, the Victorian City Art & Frame in Franklin; French Creek Framing and Fine Art in Meadville, The Gallery at New Bethlehem Town Center, and Penn Soil Resource Conservation & Development Council on Conewango Avenue in Warren. Registration instructions and forms may also be downloaded from the Council on Greenways and Trails’ website

ART BEAT: Debra Barnhart takes her nature photography to the tumultuous Farallon Islands | Entertainment

Philippe Cousteau to speak at library | Community

The Pioneer Library System is set to host filmmaker, explorer, advocate and Emmy-nominated TV host and producer Philippe Cousteau.

He will speak at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 11 during the “Spark a Change: Let’s Talk About the Environment” event at Norman Public Library Central, 103 W. Acres St. 

Attendees can learn more about the environment and conservation efforts through aconversation with Cousteau, moderated by Oklahoma State Director of the Nature Conservancy Mike Fuhr, whose nature photography will be revealed in an exhibition prior to the event.

Seating will be available for the first 300 attendees.

The event caps off Pioneer Library System’s PLS Reads initiative, a year-long look at the topic of the environment in which community members have learned how small changes can make a big impact on the world around them through reading, conversation and exploration.

“Philippe and his family have done so much to raise awareness for the environment and to foster regeneration and restoration efforts. We’re honored to have him in Oklahoma, to hear his story and to learn how we can work together in protecting our beautiful planet,” PLS Director of Community Engagement and Learning Ashley Welke said. 

The event will be featured as part of Norman’s Second Friday Art Walk in partnership with the Norman Arts Council.

Attendees can meet NAC Executive Director Erinn Gavaghan at MAINSITE before heading out on a guided walk to ​Norman Public Library Central.

The gathering will depart the gallery at 5:30 p.m., stroll through Andrews Park to see the “In Their Words” installation, then arrive at the library for the event. 

Inspired by the legacy of his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, Philippe Cousteau is a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host and producer, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur.

He is the host and executive producer of the weekly syndicated series “Awesome Planet,” now in its sixth season.

His conservation efforts are focused on solving global social and environmental problems.

In 2005, he founded EarthEcho International, a leading environmental education organization. To date, EarthEcho has activated over two million youth in 146 countries through its programs.

Cousteau’s children’s book, “Follow the Moon Home,” has been chosen for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. He has co-wrote “Going Blue” and “Make a Splash,” both of which have won multiple awards.

His new book series, “The Endangereds,” with Harper Collins, launched in September 2020. His latest book, “Oceans for Dummies,” which he co-authored with his wife, Ashlan, was released in February 2021.

For more information about the event at