The 2105 Atlanta Banana Photography Contest

PHOTO: Denoir
PHOTO: Denoir
This year, the Atlanta Banana has made just enough money through advertising revenue to pay our server costs. For that, we owe you thanks. [Update: The contest is closed. -Ed]

To celebrate that and the end of our fourth year, we’re closing out 2015 with a photography contest. I, your humble founder Jim Hodgson, offer $100 cash prize to the winning photo as judged by some of Atlanta’s greatest minds in visual art. Atlanta Contemporary has also offered a one-year membership in their Contemporary Creatives program to the winner. We can’t thank them enough.

The Goal

The goal of this contest is to give back to our city by boosting the number of Creative Commons licensed photos that anyone can use, for free with proper attribution, even commercially. Specifically, it’s the CC-BY license, which you can view here.

We believe in credit where it’s due, so all of our articles use photos annotated with the attribution requested by the photographer. A lot of big-time outlets do the same thing. Which means we see a lot of the same photos over and over.

For example, here’s a skyline photo taken from Piedmont Park by Mark Downey. It is probably the most widely-viewed Creative Commons photo of Atlanta, and rightly so. It’s a great shot.

PHOTO: Mike Downey
PHOTO: Mike Downey

We’re not suggesting that we better Mr. Downey’s shot, only that we support it with more of its kind. So, we’re holding a contest judged by some great folks.

The Judges

Photo-May-18-6-17-08-PM-1-494x329 Mark of Leah and Mark.

I met Mark and Leah as mutual volunteers at a mentorship program for kids called One Love Generation (sadly, now defunct). Mark and Leah are giving, energetic artists who have built their photography business to the point that — much like the A-Team — they won’t take your job unless they like you. They also spend a significant amount of their time helping aspiring photographers build businesses of their own.

There is no competition for personality.


Veronica_Kessenich_WEB-cropVeronica Kessenich, Executive Director, Atlanta Contemporary

Since 1973, Atlanta Contemporary has promoted art in Atlanta. To quote them:

We are a nonprofit, non-collecting institution dedicated to the creation, presentation, and advancement of contemporary art by emerging and established artists.

Veronica has fearlessly accepted her position at the moment when Atlanta Contemporary has become totally free to visitors. Can you imagine what it must take to accept a job at the exact moment when your institution revamps its entire revenue stream? Veronica can. She’s that dedicated to art and to Atlanta.


RaftermenBoys_web-1024x682 Dane Sponberg, Raftermen Photography

Dane, pictured here at left alongside his business partner Ben at right, is the man behind the quintessential Cabbagetown photography collection, “Cabbagetown Portraits,” the Kickstarter for which blew the doors off its funding requirements (Scoutmob writeup on the collection here). If you live in Atlanta and you leave your house, ever, you have probably seen Dane. His work is in high demand, but he’s also passionate about capturing the city merely because he loves it and feels loved back.


mattMatthew Druin, Owner, Matthew Druin & Co

Matthew Druin has been a friend of the Atlanta Banana since its inception. He’s provided photography advice, helped me shoot crazy short films, and lent us his enthusiasm for creativity.

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for him and his family, his photography business keeps him traveling and shooting year round. He’s not as available for shenanigans as he used to be, but we were able to rope him in on this one (1) shenanigan.

How to Enter

There is no fee to enter. There is no social media requirement. You don’t have to give us your email address, your phone number, or your blood type. You don’t even have to be a SCADuate. All you have to do is take a photo you think epitomizes some facet of the city, license it under Creative Commons “BY” license, and let us know about it. Here’s some information on how to license. It’s most likely a check box on a photo site you already use.

You can email it to, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook. Email’s probably best, but we’re not trying to tell you how to live.

The photos will be collected on the first day that I feel like doing it after Christmas, reviewed by yours truly, then selected entires will be forwarded to the judges. Judges will pick three favorites before NYE, their busy schedules allowing. A tie will be decided by me, because it’s my contest and my hundred bucks.

I reserve the right to hold the end of the contest until I have heard from judges. This is a busy time of year and these people are all very popular people. They need time with friends and family, so I’m not going to hassle them unduly.

Please include links to anything you’d like us to link to: personal accounts, your business, your Flickr/Deviantart/Instagram or whatever you like. Or you can submit totally anonymously. We’re happy to promote your tweet-blog-stagram, or totally hide your identity. But if we like your photo, we’re probably going to talk about it. And it’ll be licensed CC-BY, so, you know.

For this contest there will be no re-counts, no apologies, and one winner.

How To Give Yourself The Best Chance of Winning

PHOTO: Anish Patel
PHOTO: Anish Patel

Skyline photos are great, but we’ve all seen plenty of those. Unless you have some wild new take on the skyline, you might want to give that idea a miss. But then again, you might surprise us. Then again again, Mark McKay is kind of crushing the skyline photo game. He’s got a helicopter. Do you have a helicopter?

We’ve seen plenty of Krog St. tunnel and skyline photos from Jackson St., so tread carefully there. But definitely shoot there if you think you have a new angle. Clear?

The whole point here is to service the city by capturing it and then setting the resulting work free for anyone to use, so you might want to read over the Atlanta Wikipedia entry, or the History of Atlanta entry. See if maybe there’s anything mentioned there that needs more photography. And then check the photo credit on the Zero Mile Post photo in the History of Atlanta entry.

What you will Win

The winner was just going to get $100 USD, but because Atlanta Contemporary is so freakin’ cool, now the winner will get my hundred bucks plus a one year membership in the Contemporary Creatives program, which includes:

  • Access to the ModCo Reciprocal Membership Program
  • Invitation to quarterly social and cultural excursions and gatherings for Contemporary Creatives only
  • Opportunities for enhanced engagement with our extended creative community of artists, curators, and scholars

When you’re hanging out with the other passionate creatives in the program you can show them the hundred bucks you won from me and say “I got this from a writer.” They won’t believe you, of course, because writers are a filthy, destitute lot, but I’m totally cool with you having a good laugh at my expense with your new visual art pals. After all, it’s pretty true.

So, gang, here’s what I’m saying: this holiday season, let’s get out our iPhones or DSLRs and capture the city, then give it away again. And then let’s be cool to each other the rest of the year.