The 5 Q's: Kirk Sharp invites photographers to submit entries in 2022 photo contest

·3 min read

Sep. 11—In this weekly feature, we put five questions before someone in the community. Today, we chat with Kirk Sharp, of the Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College.

1. Who was Gordon Parks?

Gordon Parks was an internationally known photographer, filmmaker, writer and musician who used his remarkable life story to help teach others about artistic creativity, cultural awareness and the role diversity plays in all of our lives. He picked up a camera to fight against the three things he despised in America: racism, poverty and discrimination.

Gordon took some very iconic photos around the world. He was the first Black photojournalist to work for Life magazine from 1948 to 1972. The photos he has taken are just incredible. He covered the civil rights movement, and he also took photos of Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and a host of others.

One of his most notable images is titled "American Gothic" with Ella Watson. He's also known for the images he has taken in fashion.

2. What is the photo contest hosted by the Gordon Parks Museum?

The Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College will feature a photo contest sponsored by Merl Humphrey Photography. Nonprofessional photographers of any age and skill level are invited to take pictures for the project and may enter up to two photos in JPEG format with less than 2 MB.

There will be a first-place prize of $100, a second-place prize of $75 and a third-place prize of $50 and up to five honorable mentions.

All photos submitted will be on exhibit at The Gordon Parks Museum and in the Ellis Family Fine Arts Center during the annual Gordon Parks celebration on Oct. 6-8. All photos will also be posted on the Gordon Parks Museum website and Facebook page.

The theme of the contest is "I am driven by," which is based on a quote from Gordon Parks and his incredible drive. The quote says, "Driven by an insatiable hunger, I still search for those things that inspire me — beautiful imagery, music and literature."

We want to have an opportunity for amateur photographers to be creative and share what they're driven by. This could be family, poetry, music, athletics, nature and a variety of things. We try to do a theme every year for the photo contest.

3. Why should amateur photographers be interested in this contest?

It's a great opportunity for these photographers to showcase their skills and feel what it's like to be in a competition to show their images, and we want to create this opportunity for nonprofessionals to have a starting point in the field of art. We want to promote art for all ages and skill levels.

4. When is the deadline to submit photos?

It is free for all nonprofessionals to participate in the photo contest. Photos should be received via email by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the latest.

Photographs must be submitted via email to

All photos must be attached in JPEG format and limited in file size to less than 2 MB. All entries will be confirmed via email. In their email, photographers should submit a title, their name, address, email, phone number and share one or two sentences on what inspired the photo. If the participant is under 10 years old, please include the parent's information in the email.

5. Who will judge the contest?

There will be two judges. We will have professional photographer Veretta Cobler, who has done photography in New York City, and Donna Fumoso, who's an established make-up artist and hairstylist, also based in New York.

Kirk Sharp serves as the executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College.