ST. PETERSBURG, FL –Best Of Photojournalism 2007 judges in the Still Photography division picked winners in the categories of International News Picture Story, Domestic News Picture Story, Natural Disaster Picture Story, Enterprise Picture Story (Small Markets), and Enterprise Picture Story (Large Markets) on Wednesday.
NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2007 competition is sponsored again this year by Canon and Avid, and the judging is hosted by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg.
In the International News Picture Story category, first place is Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times. Second place is Yonathan Weitzman of Reuters, and third place is also Weitzman. Honorable mention was awarded to Åke Ericson of World Picture News.
“The photographers who were awarded first through third place did an excellent job of taking photographs under difficult conditions, and were successful in producing strong stories,” judge Kathleen Hennessy said. “These rose to the top because of the imagery and how beautifully the subjects were photographed in such a tense environment.” In the first place story about Lebanon, “The photographer brought intimacy, immediacy, pain, and drama and she followed a story that brought the viewer into the story. Well edited, and every picture grabbed you,” Hennessy said.
In the Domestic News Picture Story category, first place is Nick Oza of The Arizona Republic. Second place is freelancer Jacquelyn Martin, and third place is Steve Traynor of the Killeen (TX) Daily Herald. Honorable mentions were awarded to Cherie Diez of the St. Petersburg Times, and to Michael Macor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The first place winner took the viewer through the story from beginning to end, very good storytelling,” judge Steve Gonzales said. But poor picture editing hurt many of the stories in this category, judge Naomi Halperin said. “First through third place were consistently well edited,” she said. “They were good in their storytelling using multiple images.”
“On the whole, we need to tighten up the packages and work hard on eliminating redundant images,” judge Bebeto Matthews said. About the second place essay he commented, “The photographer had deep access to tell the story about illegal immigrants making their way across borders. There were great photographs – but the presentation could have been improved by a better edit.”
“I like the story about Ft. Hood because it is a good example of a well-told picture story in a linear fashion,” judge James Colton said about the third place winner. “The photographs had movement, meaning the photographic composition consisted of close, medium, and wide-angle photographs.”
Hennessy, of the San Francisco Chronicle, recused herself from the Domestic News Picture Story category judging and was replaced on the panel by BOP contest committee member Clyde Mueller, director of photography for the Santa Fe New Mexican.
In the Natural Disaster Picture Story category, first place is freelancer Ivan Kashinsky. Second place is Bruno Stevens, a freelancer on assignment for the World Food Programme, and third place is Tyler Hicks of The New York Times. An honorable mention was awarded to Ed Crisostomo of The Press-Enterprise.
“I want to make a point to photographers who enter picture stories in contests,” Colton said. “Often times, less is more. Just because you are allowed to enter up to 12 images in a category, it does not mean that you have to enter 12 images. The majority of the entries in the category suffered from redundant and weak images. Even the winning entries could have been better edited.”
“The first place [essay has] a lot of very strong images. Nice pull-back panoramic, and up-close images. The colors are remarkable, the funeral picture specifically with the casket going into the grave,” Colton said.
Gonzales liked the second place story, about drought in Kenya. “It brought you into a disaster and it made you feel for these people that are starving and dying to lack of water. It has good entry points, and is a strong story.”
In the Enterprise Picture Story (Small Markets) category, first place is Tony Overman of The Olympian. Second place is James H. Kenney Jr. of Western Kentucky University, and third place is Whitney Curtis of The Standard-Examiner. An honorable mention was awarded to Kyle Green of The Roanoke Times.
“First place was awarded to a story about a 19-year-old mother with a baby who has a skull imperfection. The story led the reader back to the father, which gave depth to the story line. This is a good example of community journalism,” Halperin said.
“Second place is a story you don’t hear much about [women with vesicovaginal fistulas]. It was done sensitively; it contained some humor, some pain, and joy. It had a full range of emotions. Third place has a good beginning with an opening photograph of a mother in a swimming pool in an inflatable inter tube, which mimicked her size and her situation. It was metaphoric, and the story is a visual journey of her as she undergoes gastric bypass surgery. The goal is for her to end up the mother she wants to be. I thought it was very well done.”
In the Enterprise Picture Story (Large Markets) category, first place is Michal Novotny of Lidove Noviny. Second place is James Nachtwey of VII shooting for Vanity Fair, and third place is Stephen M. Katz shooting for Physicians For Peace. Honorable mentions were awarded to Nachtwey, shooting for National Geographic, and David Hogsholt of Getty Images.
“First place was about homeless Russian kids. It’s disturbing, compelling, intimate, and it’s something you don’t want to see but you can’t turn away from,” Halperin said. “Second place was another intimate story, a look at the effects of this generation of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam. Again, you hate to pick disturbing images but they are very powerful images about a subject that is hidden from the West. This is an important story to tell. Third place was a story about doctors from Washington University reopening a clinic that had been closed. They were opening up a world of help for people who desperately needed it. The photographs were strong, and told a great story.”
Judges in the Best Of Photojournalism 2007 Still Photography division this year are Bebeto Matthews, a staff photojournalist for the Associated Press in New York; Steve Gonzales, director of photography for the Houston Chronicle; James Colton, a photography editor for Sports Illustrated; Naomi Halperin, director of photography for The Morning Call in Allentown, PA; and Kathleen Hennessy, deputy director of photography for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Web division judging is also conducted at Poynter and is coordinated by chair Keith W. Jenkins, the photography editor for The Washington Post. This years Web division judges are Andrew DeVigal, a multimedia editor for The New York Times; Regina McCombs of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, MN; Josh Meltzer, a photojournalist for The Roanoke Times who was the 2005 Best Of Photojournalism Photojournalist of the Year for Smaller Markets; Richard Hernandez, a photojournalist for the San Jose Mercury News; and Heather Powazek Champ from Flickr.
Judging in Still Photography and Web Site categories has been going on all week at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, and will wrap up on Friday with the announcement of the top photo awards.
Judging in the Picture Editing categories will begin next week at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication (VisCom) in Athens, OH, coordinated by VisCom director Terry Eiler and photojournalism instructor Stan Alost.
In addition to Canon and Avid, NPPA’s Best Of Photojournalism 2007 competition is also sponsored by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL; Hesketh.com; Ibiblio.org; Camera Bits; Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication; Think Tank Photo; and MerlinOne.
For more information or to ask questions please eMail Best Of Photojournalism 2007 contest coordinator Thomas Kenniff, who is at the judging, at [email protected].