The Learning Labs are excited to present the first GCPL Photo Annual Exhibition this fall at the Duluth branch. The theme for this year’s show, Imagining the Unreal, will tie together a collection of images in a mind-bending exhibition that includes dreams, fictional narratives, emotional landscapes, surreal visions and other fascinating thematic interpretations.

Artwork is juried by Maria L. Kelly, the Curatorial Assistant of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, as well as the Collection Manager for The Sir Elton John Photography Collection. 

Join us for the exhibition opening on October 15, 2021 at the Duluth library. Learn more about photography at the Juror Talk with Maria Kelly on October 23. Artwork will be on view through November 19 as a part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. 

All events are free and open to the public.


Go down the rabbit hole with this year’s theme, Imagining the Unreal. Submissions cover broad interpretations of the theme, including dreams, fictional narratives, emotional landscapes, surreal visions, altering our world or creating another world or universe.

Any photographic, lens or light-based images were welcome for entry, including staged scenes, manipulated images, mixed media, alternative processes, or anything you can imagine. For submission, the work needed to result in a digital file that can be submitted and printed on large format vinyl for public installation. Please note that artworks cannot contain nudity, drug use, or violence.

Submission Guidelines: 

  • This exhibition was free to enter and open to anyone creating photographic images
  • Submissions opened on July 7, 2021 and closed August 16, 2021 
  • Each entrant was able to submit up to 5 images 
  • Images must be jpegs, 1500px on the longest side, sRBG color space
  • Name your files using the naming convention: Lastname_Firstname_001.jpg
  • Submissions are collected through Google Forms 
  • Once you submit the form, you should receive a confirmation email 
  • Accepted photographers will be notified on September 10, 2021

Important Dates:

  • October 15, 2021: Exhibition Opening 
  • October 23, 2021: Juror talk with Maria Kelly 
  • November 19, 2021: Show closes

Meet Our Juror

Maria L. Kelly is the Curatorial Assistant of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, as well as the Collection Manager for The Sir Elton John Photography Collection. During her time at the High, Maria has helped organize more than twenty photography installations, including exhibitions featuring the work of Helen Levitt, Abelardo Morell, Thomas Struth, Wynn Bullock, and Gordon Parks, among others. She recently co-curated an exhibition on women photographers throughout history, titled Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection. 

Library Resources at GCPL for Photographers

The Gwinnett County Public Library has Learning Labs with many free resources to help photographers, including DSLR and mirrorless digital cameras, iMac stations with Creative Suite, studio lights, and more. Access to our Learning Labs is free with a library card. Out-of-county patrons can purchase a full access library card for $40 a year. 

Learning Lab Specialists are also on staff to help! Book-a-Librarian or Book an appointment to use the labs at https://www.gwinnettpl.org/learninglabs/ 

Have a question? Send us an email at learninglabs@gmail.com