Sowers selected as Artist of the Month

Published 11:06pm Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throughout his professional career, Jay Sowers has viewed the world around him through the small viewfinder of his camera. 

From communities large to small, beginning in his home state of Ohio to Selma, Sowers has helped document great events and great tragedies, as well as photograph big personalities and everyday people.

He has helped illustrate stories with his camera, and now, some of that work will be on display at the Selma Art Guild.

Sowers has been selected as the August Artist of the Month for the Selma Art Guild, which will host a reception Sunday, Aug. 11 beginning at 2 p.m.

“I was definitely surprised to be selected as the artist of the month,” Sowers said. “It’s an honor because I know how many talented artists the guild has to choose from here in Selma.”

Since joining the Times-Journal last August, Sowers has helped expand the newspaper’s coverage of the Black Belt community.

“I’ve been lucky enough to meet many local artists and cover events put on by artistic organizations over the past year, and they are really all so terrific. The arts probably aren’t the first thing people think of when they think about Selma, but it really should be,” Sowers said. “I know I’m discovering new and talented local artists on a daily basis, and I think it’s something that should be celebrated.”

Sowers said his lover of photography began at a young age.

“My dad always had a camera in his hands when I was young, and I think that’s where I first learned to love photography,” Sowers said. “Back home, we have a cabinet full of his old photo albums and I love looking back on those old photos.”

While earning a photojournalism degree at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., Sowers said a professor helped further develop his passion.

“I had a professor in college, Ken Heinen, who showed me the power of a great photo,” Sowers said. “He had been the official photographer for the U.S. Supreme Court for a number of years, and he had that opportunity because of the work he had done for decades at papers in Washington D.C.”

Sowers understands many would not think of newspaper photography as an art, but he said it’s the moment that makes the photo a work of art.

“I love being able to capture a moment in time. Whether I’m at a city council meeting or the Iron Bowl, I love being able to show people a moment in time that they remember, but give them a new point of view,” Sowers said.

Sunday’s exhibit will show off photographs Sowers has taken while working for newspapers in Ohio, Mississippi and in Selma.

The reception will be held at the Selma Art Guild from 2-4 p.m..

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