ST. PETERSBURG, FL – On the fourth day of the 2006 National Press Photographers Association’s Best Of Photojournalism contest, judges Wednesday awarded a prestigious honor, Cliff Edom’s “New America Award,” to photojournalist Vincent Winter for his documentary examination of Utica, NY, a city in the aftermath of an economic crash that was revived by an influx of refugees from more than 30 countries who turned the town into their new American homestead.
Other still photography finalists and winners selected Wednesday were from the contest categories of International News Picture Story, Natural Disaster Picture Story 2005, and Enterprise Picture Story (Over/Under 115,000 circulation markets).
Web site judges also picked winners in the categories of Natural Disaster Multimedia Package and PhotoBlogs for Large, Smaller, and Unaffiliated Sites.
Winter won the award that’s named after Cliff Edom (1907-1991), a University of Missouri School of Journalism professor who co-founded the Missouri Photographic Workshop with his wife, Vilia, in 1949. The award recognizes excellence in photographic storytelling about rural or ethnically diverse people and honors Edom’s legacy. (Photo above from Winter's winning essay.)
Photojournalist Steve Jessmore of The Flint Journal received a Special Recognition award in the Edom category for his essay on Flint, MI, a city that the photographer says “frequently tops lists of being worst among the most stressful, dangerous, segregated, impoverished, and economically disadvantaged cities to live in this country.” (Photo above from Jessmore's essay)
Winter’s documentary essay looks at how Utica, NY, fell on hard times when its textile industry crashed and the city became yet another casualty in the American “rust belt,” its population plummeting from 120,000 to 65,000 as the economy took its toll on business and property and its citizens left to find new jobs and new homes. The situation worsened yearly until it reached the point where the National Guard was called in to demolish unsafe structures that were once proud homes and stores.
Yet these very same factors helped to bring waves of refugees from 30 countries, including those especially from the Bosnian community, to Utica in upstate New York to establish a new, growing city that’s revived because of their immigration and industry. Today one in six people in Utica are refugees. There are Vietnamese restaurants, Russian neighborhood stores, Bosnian hairdressing salons and coffee shops, a large Pentecostal church built by refugees from the former Soviet Union, mosques and temples. Thirty-one languages are spoken in city schools. The local newspaper runs a weekly column in Bosnian. A hospital has a Web site devoted to cultural diversity.
Winter’s essay was published in Refugees magazine, a publication of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Born in California, Winter studied at San Francisco State University and Smith College before traveling and studying in Africa and working as an art director for major magazines. In 1986 he moved to Paris to paint and open a design office, and then returned to photography from his new base in the south of France.
Speaking for the still photography judges on the “New America Award” winner, judge Ruth Fremson of The New York Times said, “This First place winner really defines the category. This is an essay of a changing community. It opens with some interesting images, which led one to believe that you’re going to be seeing a dying community. Instead, it turns around and surprises you. There is a new community evolving here. It brings in immigration issues. It talks about various ethnic groups moving into the community of Utica. It contains a series of portraits and it also contains a series of moments. Your get a feel for what they are going through as immigrants in this country. There is a nice element of surprise and it’s a very comprehensive piece. A lot of different types of people are represented. It has a nice quiet and comfortable flow to it.”
In addition to Fremson, this year's still photography judges are: Ramiro Fernandez, photography editor for People magazine; Christine McNeal, deputy managing editor for design, graphics, and photography for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Ricardo Ferro, director of photography for EFE America; and James Colton, photography editor for Sports Illustrated magazine.
OTHER STILL PHOTOGRAPHY RESULTS
In other still photography category results Wednesday, in the Natural Disaster Picture Story 2005 competition First place was awarded to David Butow of Redux Pictures, shot on assignment for U.S. News & World Report magazine, for his coverage of Banda Aceh, Indonesia two weeks after the tsunami. (A picture from his essay is above.)
Second place is David Guttenfelder of the Associated Press for his essay on the aftermath of an October 2005 earthquake that decimated Balakot, Pakistan, and the Kashmir region. Third place is Eric Gay of the Associated Press for his coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Honorable Mentions were awarded to Smiley Pool of The Dallas Morning News; Mario Tama of Getty Images; Jan Grarup of Politiken on assignment for Newsweek; and Robert Stolarik of Polaris Images on assignment for Time.
Commenting on the Natural Disaster Picture Story winners, Colton said of the First place entry, “These tsunami aftermath photos were taken some one to two weeks after the event. They are wonderful and powerful images. And done very nicely.” Fernandez said, “I get a strong sense of community here.”
About Second place, Colton said: “I lean to the color story on the Pakistan earthquake relief story. There are more elements in this story that give me a strong sense of urgency. The people are injured, a young child being comforted by his father while his amputated arm is being attended to. It’s a killer picture.”
“The use of color and strong photography makes this a great package,” Colton said about Third place. Ferro said, “The photography conveys the drama of Katrina. The peak moments showing looters, grieving for the dead, the apathy of people just walking by dead bodies. There are a lot of powerful images here.”
In the International News Picture Story category, First place was Chris Hondros of Getty Images, and Second place was Kristen Ashburn of Contact Press Images. Third place was awarded to Moises Saman of Newsday. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Rodrigo Abd of the Associated Press; Yannis Kontos of Polaris Images; Scott Nelson of World Picture Network; Joe Raedle of Getty Images; and Paolo Pellegrin of Magnum Photos, on assignment for Newsweek.
About the top three International News Picture Stories, Fremson said this: “Our First, Second, and Third place winners are all distinct; strong photo stories that were a combination of strong news value and excellent execution. The First place winner is a spot news story where the photographer not only captured the storytelling moments but also captured them in a moving way, under extremely difficult conditions. The Second place story about AIDS victims tells a news story in a very polished and exquisite style of portraiture that introduces you to the victims. The Third place is a hauntingly lovely story from Afghanistan. Each story has a distinct visual style that proves there is no formula for telling an international news story.”
In the Enterprise Picture Story (Under 115,000 circulation) catetory, First place is Heather S. Hughes of the Daily Press. (A photo from her essay is above.) Second place is Gerry Melendez of The State. And Third place is freelancer Tamas Dezso. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Josh Meltzer of The Roanoke Times.
Commenting on the First place winner in this category, Fremson said, “For someone who did not know anything about what the Quinceanera is, these photographs tell me what it is. It is a story with nice moments.”
Regarding Second place, Fernandez said, “The images are quite unique, similar to a day-in-the-life look. I respond very well to the colors, the shapes and the formal quality of the pictures.” Ferro said, “It was handled very well.” Fremson said, “To me it was a series of photographs rather than a story.”
Ferro said of Third place, “The surprise of coming to America, learning the language, having running water, taking your medicine, and seeing furniture. It does have a theme to it as a story.”
In the Enterprise Picture Story (Over 115,000 circulation) category, First place is Andrew Testa of Panos Pictures on assignment for Brigitte magazine. Second place is Tamas Dezso shooting freelance for GEO. Third place is David Hogsholt, and Honorable Mentions were awarded to Jeff Hutchens of Getty Images and Romain Blanquart of the Detroit Free Press.
In this category the First, Second, and Third place winners were unanimous selections by the five judges. “Strong, strong, strong stories, all of them,” Fremson said of the top three. Regarding Firsts place, “Its formal qualities are extremely strong. The content is something we haven’t seen yet. It’s not a national disaster but it’s a well-known incident that happened in Bangaldesh. The color, content, and composition is right on target,” Fernandez said.
Fremson said of Second place, “There are no flaws in this story. Exquisite photography.”
Third place went to Copenhagen drug addicts. “This is a very harrowing story about a drug addict,” Fernandez said about Third place. “It shows her through all of the rituals of being an addict. Fighting with herself, self-denial, self-examination, shooting-up, the love, the beatings, just everything. It’s a complete story. I imagine the photographer spent a lot of time with the victim. The editing job was marvelous.” McNeal said, “The access on this drug story was tremendous, and that was impressive.”
WEB SITE RESULTS
In today’s Web Site contest results, judges picked finalists and winners in the categories of Natural Disaster Multimedia Package and PhotoBlogs for the Large, Smaller, and Unaffiliated divisions.
This year's Web Site judges are: Margarita Corporan, a senior photography editor for America Online; Andrew DeVigal, an assistant professor at San Francisco State University and co-principal of Devigal Design; 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice, a staff photojournalist for the San Francisco Chronicle; and Juan Thomassie, a senior designer for USAToday.com.
In the Natural Disaster Multimedia Package (Larger Sites) category, First place is NationalGeographic.com for “Hope In Hell.” (A screen grab from the winner is above.) Second place is USAToday.com for “Exiled from Banks Street,” and Third place is The New York Times for “Hurricane Katrina.”
In the Natural Disaster Multimedia Package (Smaller Sites) category, an Honorable Mention was given to InsideBayArea.com for “9th Ward Bus Tours.”
In the Natural Disaster Multimedia Package (Unaffiliated Sites) category, no award was given.
In the PhotoBlogs (Portrait Blog) category, First place is Vinay Panjawani for “vinay_p’s Photos.” Second place is Tatiana Cardeal for “Portraits,” and Third place is Nameet Potnis for “The Journey.”
In the PhotoBlogs (Fesitvals & Events Blog) category, First place is esâm for “Through the Eyes of a Pilgrim.” Second place is Tatiana Cardeal for “Indigenous National Party,” and Third palce is Marcus Kaz for “Foster City Carnival.”
In the PhotoBlogs (Photojournalism Blog) category, First place is Dan Squires for “Photojournalism.” Second place is Will Duncan for “blog 88:88,” and Third place is Raul Gutierrez for “Mexican Pictures: Images of Kham.”
As the end of the week of judging grows near so does the anticipation over who will be selected as the Photojournalists of the Year for the large and small market categories. These two honors are scheduled to be awarded following judging of the categories on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism contest is sponsored by Canon, Avid, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Hesketh.com, Ibiblio.org, Western Kentucky University, Camera Bits, Ohio University, and Merlin One.
Read an earlier story about the judges and the contest here.
Read about Sunday's winners here.
Read about Monday's winners in nine categories here.
Read a story about Tuesday's Web and Still Photography winners here.