Pictured: John Dittli holds his winning photo of Twin Lakes Falls, now the image of the 2012 Sierra Summer Festival poster. Contact Mammoth Gallery for information on this year’s poster contest.
Local photographer featured in 2012 rendition
What’s old is made new again in this year’s Sierra Summer Festival poster. Local photographer John Dittli, of John Dittli Photography, shot the poster’s image on film in the early 90s, but it wasn’t until last year that Mammoth Gallery Manager, Joel St. Marie, who knew of the image, suggested that he enter the photo into the annual SSF Poster Contest.
Each year, the Sierra Summer Festival holds a competition to choose the image that will be used in the following year’s promotional poster. These posters have great clout and have become collector’s items for many. The choice of medium is open to watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, pencil, photography, or printmaking.
Dittli was living at Tamarack at the time he took the shot of the well-known location at the top of Twin Lakes looking down.
“I came to Mammoth in 1981 and worked at Tamarack, running the cross-country ski program for 15 years,” Dittli explained. In the summers he worked in Washington State.
Dittli and his wife, Leslie decided to stay year-round in Mammoth in 1995. His goal was to focus more on his photography.
“I took photography in high school and minored in it at Humboldt State,” he explained. He enjoys landscape photography and currently shoots a lot of preservation photography for local non-profits such as Friends of the Inyo and the Eastern Sierra Land Trust.
Dittli captured the shot with a long shutter speed and described the look as “fuzzy water.”
“I knew the shot and I knew with the right evening it would work,” he explained.
Describing himself as a moody photograph, he strove to capture the mood on that fateful evening. Apparently the mood struck home last year with SSF poster voters because Dittli’s photo stole the show and the title of 2012 Poster Winner.
His was the eighth poster image chosen through a creative competition. Each year artists submit their works and more than 300 concert attendees vote for their favorite. The field is narrowed down to the top three entries through this attendee voting process from which a panel of judges then chooses the winner. The winning entry is then used for the following year’s poster.
But the poster contest has an even longer history spanning back to when the Sierra Summer Festival began in 1978.
Previously the general public was allowed to vote on contest submissions, but the process became too political with friends of the artists simply stuffing the ballot to ensure their buddies would come out on top.
Mammoth Gallery started the series back in the day, and even though the former Edisto Gallery in Mammoth ran it for a few years, has always been involved in the contest. Today, Mammoth Gallery is co-sponsoring the competition with SSF.
Today, St. Marie is in charge of the contest and can answer questions or supply applications. Artists may also download applications and contest rules from the Sierra Summer Festival website, www.sierrasummerfestival.org. Contest entries must be submitted to the gallery between July 30 and Aug. 3, only.
Mammoth Gallery is also the exclusive local outlet for Sierra Summer Festival concert tickets and posters. Concert tickets may also be purchased online at the SSF website.
Prior year’s posters are also available at the Gallery, but some years are no longer available.
This year’s Sierra Summer Festival takes place Aug. 9-11 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mammoth.