Photography tribute to city’s 150th anniversary now on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Robert G. Mull

In July, the city of Birmingham launched the Birmingham View Photo Challenge— a competition calling for photographs that captured the people, landmarks and events of Birmingham as a tribute to the city’s upcoming 150th anniversary.

Now, the winning photographs from that competition are on view in a new exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

On view until January 9, 2022, the works are currently on display in the paneled gallery off the first floor of the museum’s Bohorfoush hallway.

The challenge asked participants to submit photos in four distinct categories: events in Birmingham, cityscapes and landscapes, Birmingham landmarks, and people. The photos had to be taken in Birmingham between 2019 and 2021 with either a cell phone or professional camera.

[READ MORE] Mayor Woodfin touts plan to celebrate Birmingham’s 150th anniversary

A panel of visual artists and city business leaders judged the competition, including fine arts photographer Carolyn Sherer, Darius Hill, chair of the Visual Arts Department at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Laura Kate Whitney of the Birmingham Business Alliance, and conceptual-based photographer and sculptor Celestia “Cookie” Morgan. In 2019, the Birmingham Museum of Art hosted “REDLINE,” Morgan’s series of photographs and small sculptures exploring the history redlining in Birmingham. One of those photographs is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

[Read more about Celestia Morgan’s “REDLINE”] Discrimination exposed by brilliant Alabama black artist

In a press release, organizers from the city of Birmingham said the competition judges were impressed by the entries and marveled over participants’ “creative choice of subject matter and the composition.”

Judges of the Birmingham View Photo Contest

The judges of the Birmingham View photo competition. (Courtesy, the city of Birmingham)

“The selections really represented the breadth and richness of life in the Magic City,’’ said Dr. Graham Boettcher, the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, in the same press release.

The photo challenge is one of several initiatives Mayor Randall Woodfin announced as part of the city’s 150th anniversary. A letter writing campaign called “I Love Birmingham Because…’’ also launched this year. Poet Seneca Wilson submitted his love letter to the city in a poem and a video. A copy of his poem, “The Magic City,’’ is also featured in the Birmingham Museum of Art’s photo gallery. The poem and video are also on the city’s 150th Anniversary website.

"The Magic City" by Seneca Wilson

“The Magic City” by Seneca Wilson is also on display in the Birmingham View photo gallery. (Courtesy: the city of Birmingham)

The letters will be stored at the Birmingham Public Library’s archives department. People may still submit their love letters about Birmingham to [email protected] with the subject line: “I Love Birmingham Because.”

Birmingham officially became a city on Dec. 19, 1871 when the state legislature voted to confirm it as a city.

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