(Athens, Ohio) A photo story on Cuba in transition anchored the portfolio of Tomás Munita who has been named the Photojournalist of the Year for large markets in the 2017 Best of Photojournalism competition sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association and judged at Ohio University. Jessica Phelps, a staffer at the Newark Advocate in Ohio, won the same title for smaller markets, also with a portfolio built around strong photo stories.
Munita, working on assignment for The New York Times, also entered stories on gold mining in Peru, sheep farming in Chile and a collection of single photos from around the U.S. Based in Chile, Munita is currently on assignment for The Times in Tierra del Fuego and is out of contact. Last year’s POY winner Daniel Berehulak won second place, also shooting for The New York Times.
Phelps, in addition to the Photojournalist of the Year title, won both first and second place awards for Best Published Picture Story, smaller markets. Picture stories are at the center of her work, Phelps said, and as soon as she is finished with one story, she starts on the next.
“I have a million things I want to do,” Phelps said. “It’s what keeps me going.”
As winners of the Photojournalist of the Year titles, Both Munita and Phelps will receive a Nikon D810, a 24-120mm f4 lens and a speed light, courtesy of Nikon.
Bob Martin won the Sports Photojournalist of the Year title with a portfolio from both the Summer Olympics and the Paralympics in Rio. The British photographer based in London joined the newly formed photo agency SilverHub Media as director of photography in 2016.
A former staffer for Sports Illustrated, Martin worked for the magazine at the Summer Olympics and for the International Olympic Committee at the Paralympics. Martin had also covered a number events in Rio prior to the games, giving him a good sense of the locations and his working relationship with Sports Illustrated added a level of trust with his editors.
“I produce a lot pictures with a sense of place,” Martin said. “What I like about working for Sports Illustrated is that they more or less allow me a free hand.”
Independent photojournalist Alyssa Schukar won Cliff Edom’s “New America Award” for her two-year coverage of Marktown, an East Chicago, Indiana neighborhood surrounded by a petroleum refinery that is expanding and buying out low-income homes. A portion of her project was posted online by The New York Times’ Lens blog, but it is a project that is not yet finished.
“I was just there last night,” Schukar said this week. Especially in light of proposed cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency, Schukar wants to expand her documentation of the lives of people in the region who are affected by industrial pollution.
“The people who live there are generally low income and they don’t have the resources to move,” Schukar said.
Another interesting result contest result is the strong showing by Matt Gade, the only photographer at The Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, who placed second for Photojournalist of the Year for smaller markets and with another portfolio, third for the Sports Photojournalist of the Year.
1 – Tomás Munita, The New York Times
2 – Daniel Berehulak, The New York Times
3 – Daniel Rodrigues, Freelance
HM – Paul Hansen, Dagens Nyheter
1 – Jessica Phelps, Newark Advocate
2 – Matt Gade, The Daily Republic
3 – Jake May, The Flint Journal
1 – Bob Martin, SilverHub Media
2 – Donald Miralle, IRONMAN
3 – Matt Gade, The Daily Republic
1 – Alyssa Schukar, Freelance, “Legacy of Industry"
HM – Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times, “Gentrification squeezes African-American community"