Rural Kansas Photo Contest adds two new categories, including an invitation to teen photographers

Two new categories highlighting the 2022 Rural Kansas Photo Contest include On the Farm and a special category just for youth ages 13-17 to share their best photos.

The competition, sponsored by Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center, is a reminder of what makes Kansas a special place. But until this year, the competition was only open to photographers aged 18 and over.

Invite teenage photographers

Jenifer Yuza, marketing and resource manager for Rural Health Education and Services, said she’s been answering questions about adding a youth category for years. “Every year I get requests to let young people participate in the competition,” said Yuza. To protect the privacy of minors wishing to submit their photos, parents or legal guardians must intervene on their behalf.

competition categories

The contest is now open and accepting entries until October 17, 2022. Categories include:

  • Best in Show (limited to one entry per photographer)
  • sun, wind or rain
  • On the farm
  • Healthcare in Kansas
  • wild animals and creatures
  • Youth Category – Kansas Best in Show

See the competition categories page for details on each category. To submit photos, visit the contest page and select Submit Photos.

Showcasing life on the farm

"head to head" ©Mark Alexander, McPherson County.  Two bison stand head to head

McPherson County’s Mark Alexander’s “Head to Head” won first place in the 2021 Wildlife & Critters category.

The second new category celebrates everything related to farms and ranches. “Some of our previous contest winners also suggested this as a possible category,” explained Yuza. “We want to showcase our farmers, farmland, livestock, barns, farming and general life on a farm. Agriculture is such an important industry for our state and we are proud to introduce it this year.”

cash and calendar

First place winners in all categories except Youth receive $75 and runners-up receive $35. A Grand Prize Winner will be featured on the cover of Kansas Country Living magazine for January 2023.

Winners will also be invited to submit their photos for a 2023 Beauty in Kansas Wall Calendar. The calendar will be sold to the public for $15, with proceeds from sales going back to the Rural Kansas Photography Contest.

“Last year was the first year for the calendar,” Yuza said. “It was fun and the photographers enjoyed showing off their photos so we plan to do it again this year.”

Increasing Popularity

Yuza said the competition entries are increasing every year. In 2021, 265 photographers submitted 1,384 photos, a sharp increase from the first round of the competition in 2006. This year, 12 photographers submitted 60 entries.

“The competition has really grown in popularity. For the last four competitions we had more than 1,000 entries and our collection of entries has grown to nearly 10,000 images,” she said.

Because Rural Health Education and Services is tasked with recruiting health workers in Kansas, the office needed to present the wonders of the state and its people to recruits who had never been to Kansas. The photo contest was an opportunity to win exceptional Kansas images.

The office draws on the collection to decorate its offices and clinics. “We also use them in our marketing collateral to promote Kansas as a great place for healthcare providers to live, work and play,” Yuza said. “There is power in the testimonies of people who live in Kansas, but there is also power in these images of life in our state.”

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