ST. PETERSBURG, FL –Best Of Photojournalism 2007 judges in the Still Photography division picked winners Tuesday in the categories of Local Portrait and Personality, Natural Disaster Single 2006, International News, Enterprise, Environmental Picture Story, Environmental Picture Story, and General News.
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.
Today in the Local Portrait and Personality category, judges awarded first place to Farah Nosh of Getty Images, shooting for Time magazine. Second place is Peter Parks of Agence France-Presse, and third place is freelancer Scott Dalton. Honorable mentions were awarded to Amelia Phillips of the Kane County Chronicle, and to Damon Winter of the Los Angeles Times.
“I want to applaud the photographers who entered this category [Local Portrait and Personality] because I think, so far, this is one of the richest categories,” judge James Colton said.
“The first place winner, an image of an Afghan girl is stunning. It’s haunting in the eyes and the composition. It’s one of those pictures that grabs you and you want to look at and linger on. The second place picture is an example where the environment enhanced the portrait, helping to make this a strong picture. The third place boxing portrait gives you a sense of feel and place. It’s an emotional photograph.”
In the Natural Disaster Single 2006 category, first place is J.B. Forbes of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Second place is Gina Ferazzi of the Los Angeles Times, and third place is Michael Macor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Honorable mentions were awarded to freelancer Ivan Kashinsky, shooting for WpN, and Adek Berry, of Agence France-Presse.
For the Natural Disaster Single category, judge Kathleen Hennessy of the San Francisco Chronicle recused herself and the contest committee chairperson, Harry Walker of the McClatchy Tribune Photo Service, replaced her on the panel. Speaking for the judges, Walker said, “This was a disappointing category with only a few strong images making it to the final round. First place shows the expanse of the natural disaster from a tornado and the emotional state of two people consoling each other. The second place photograph is a strong scenic of a helicopter dropping water on a brush fire. The orange color of the sky in the background provides drama for the photograph. The third place photograph is of a malnourished infant being held by an adult.”
In the International News category, first place is Mohammed Ballas of the Associated Press. Second place is Seokyong Lee of Bloomberg News, and third place is Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times. Honorable mentions were awarded to Akintunde Akinleye of Reuters; Jeroen Oerlemans of Panos Pictures; and Michael Robinson-Chavez, formerly of The Washington Post and now with the Los Angeles Times.
Regarding International News, contest judge Steve Gonzales of the Houston Chronicle said, “I applaud the photojournalists who put themselves in harms way to give us these images. I feel this is one of the strongest categories we have judged so far.”
“I’m struck by two guns aimed at someone who they just assassinated, and the photographer is literally thirty inches from those weapons,” judge Naomi Halperin said. “As for second place, you’ve got riot police whacking a protester and the photographer is very close to the action. Third place is difficult to look at, and I can only imagine how difficult it was to photograph dead children being rushed away. The photographs are phenomenal.”
“This work reminds us how much humanity is faced with struggling to survive, and how fragile life is,” judge Bebeto Matthews said. “It was a difficult category to really get through, in terms of making a selection, and it was all excellent work. These photographs represent what we do; this is what photojournalism is all about. And the pictures tell a story of the world, and crisis, and the challenges people face. The work exemplifies this.”
In the Enterprise category, first place is Robin Trimarchi of the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer. Second place is Matt Rourke of the Associated Press, and third place is Barbara Davidson of The Dallas Morning News. Honorable mentions were awarded to Moises Saman of Newsday, Joseph P. Meier of The Daily Southtown, and Anja Niedringhaus of the Associated Press.
“The [Enterprise] first place photograph of the young kids dancing is such a beautiful moment. There is pure joy and happiness in these kid’s faces,” Colton said. “The second place picture is of a young boy playing in the water at a water fountain where a large drop of water explodes as it hits on top of the child’s head. Caught at the perfect moment, it’s also a moment of joy. The third place picture of the nun in the lake, with the swimmer in the background, also brings out these moments of joy.”
In the Environmental Picture Story category, first place is Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times. Second place is Oded Balilty of the Associated Press, and third place is Gail Fisher of the Los Angeles Times. Honorable mention was awarded to Maria Stenzel of National Geographic magazine.
“Except for the winning entries, the thing that bothered me most about this category is that it seems that there was a level of narrative dysfunction here,” Matthews said. “Photographers left behind storytelling for a lot of pretty single images that didn’t carry across their theme, that didn’t make you emphasize with the story.”
Halperin said, “What gives a picture story value is when the project answers the questions: ‘Why this?’ ‘Why now?’ And, ‘Is it relevant?’ First place answered the questions beautifully. It was engaging, and made us want to care. The second – a story about Chernobyl –was relevant, and made us want to care. It created the narrative of what Chernobyl is like today, while still being reminiscent of conditions 20 years ago. Third place also answered the questions about the issues of Uranium mining and the affect it has on not just the ecosystem, but on the human beings that had to endure it."
In the General News category, first place is Oded Balilty of the Associated Press. Second place is Andrew Craft of The Fayetteville Observer, and third place is Jane Tyska of The Daily Review, Bang Newspapers. Honorable mentions were awarded to Gary Coronado of The Palm Beach Post and to Guy Wathen of The Tribune-Review.
"This [first place] is one of the nicest pictures I've seen all year," Hennessy said. "It is reminiscent of a well-known photograph taken on Tiananmen Square where a lone person tried to stop advancing tanks."
Gonzales said about second place, "It's a tender moment between two soldiers, I believe a husband and wife, saying goodbye as they hold hands through an open bus window, one inside, one outside. It's a very powerful image."
And of third place, Gonzales said, "This is a moment we don't see too often. It's a graduation photograph taken of a young man in a hospital bed where he is attached to life support. The joy seen in the family's faces, that their son did graduate before he passed away, is a wonderful moment."
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 will take place 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: the Photojournalists of the Year (for Large and Small Markets), the Sports Portfolio of the Year winner, and the winner of Cliff Edom’s “New America Award.”
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].