John Tlumacki, Sean Proctor Win NPPA's Photojournalists Of The Year

Police officers with their guns drawn heard a second explosion down the street from the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. The first explosion knocked down this runner. The image was part of the portfolio that won John Tlumacki the title of NPPA 2014 Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets). Photograph by By John Tlumacki-Boston Globe
Police officers with their guns drawn heard a second explosion down the street from the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. The first explosion knocked down this runner. The image was part of the portfolio that won John Tlumacki the title of NPPA 2014 Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets). Photograph by By John Tlumacki-Boston Globe

By Donald R. Winslow

DURHAM, NC (March 24, 2014) – John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe today was named the National Press Photographers Association's Best Of Photojournalism 2014 Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets), and Sean Proctor of the Midland (MI) Daily News was selected as the Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets)

This year Cliff Edom's "New America Award" was won by Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune for his essay "Trading Tradition for Oil." The story tells the tale of towns across North Dakota as they try to reconcile their new oil wealth with their prairie heritage. 

Patrick Smith, shooting freelance for Getty Images, is the Sports Photojournalist of the Year for the second year in a row. The runner-up is Al Bello of Getty Images, and third place is Joel Marklund of Bildbyråns in Stockholm.

And in another important category, Returning Veterans Coming Home was won by Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times for "A Soldier's Wife." Second place is Lisa Krantz of the San Antonio (TX) Express-News for "Shattered Lives," and third place is freelancer Francois Pesant for "An Enemy Within: Military Rape in the United States." An honorable mention was awarded to Michael Ciaglo of The Colorado Springs Gazette for "Other Than Honorable."

NPPA's 2014 Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets) John Tlumacki learned of his contest win via a phone call this morning from News Photographer magazine. 

"I'm so honored," he said. "NPPA is the first organization I joined when I started my career. And winning, it's not about the photographs ... to me it's about the people that I photographed." 

The Globe staffer literally had the Boston Marathon bombing story unfold in front of his lens. While others ran away from the first blast, Tlumacki ran toward the scene. One of the first series of images of victims being helped on Boylston Street were of severely injured Sydney Corcoran, 18, and her mother Celeste. 

"I've spent this whole year photographing the Corcorans, from four weeks after the bombing all the way through Christmas, and it's been healing for me and for them to work through what we witnessed and for me to document their recovery," Tlumacki said today. "They've really helped me. They're doing great. I'm going to see them again next week when CBS News does a story based on our story in The Image Deconstructed, and we're going to talk on television about our friendship. And next year they're going to be with me on the Marathon's finish line, they will run the last 25 yards of the race. I'm so grateful that I was able to become friends with them. In them, our readers got to know a family that exemplifies the saying 'Boston Strong.'"

Tlumacki has photographed 20 marathons during his 33 year career as a Globe general assignment staff photographer. Last year it was his fifth time to be the ground-level pool photographer at the race's finish line. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in photography for his coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and he was the Boston Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year in 2011 and then again last year, in 2013.

NPPA's 2014 Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets) Sean Proctor was sitting in an airport this morning waiting for a delayed flight to Arizona to cover baseball spring training when he learned of his NPPA contest victory. It's a big win for a young photographer who is only a little over one year into his first full-time job. And this year seems to be going pretty well so far, as Proctor was also picked recently as the Michigan Press Photographers Association's Photographer of the Year.

"Wow, you're kidding!" Proctor said. While it's true that he is early in his career, Proctor has spent time around some of NPPA's top photographers before, and the powerful spirit of quality community photojournalism is not new to him. 

While interning at The Virginian-Pilot, he lived with photojournalist Ross Taylor – and was actually with Taylor on the day in 2012 that he got the call that he'd won NPPA's Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets). Not only that, Proctor's good friend is photojournalist Dave Weatherwax of The Herald in Jasper, IN. And Weatherwax has been the NPPA Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets) two times now. 

"When I lived with Ross it was great because every day, I could pick his brains. At home at night after work I could ask all these questions. Here at the newspaper in Midland, like many small papers we don't have a picture editor. So we are the picture editors and the page designers and the photographers, and we get a lot of say about which pictures run out front, which ones are inside, and our long-term projects are all self generated. When we feel we've done the projects right, that's when we run them," Proctor said.

Which sounds a lot like what goes on at The Herald in Jasper, IN, at the Rumbach family-run newspaper where Proctor's friend Weatherwax has won his two NPPA titles. 

"Justin Rumbach did work here, in Midland" Proctor said, "And we try to come as close as we can to what they do at The Herald." 

Rumbach, whose stint in Midland was also his first staff job following internships, defers taking any credit for the Michigan newspaper's photographic success. 

"When I got there that newspaper was already humming along." Rumbach said today. "Rodney Curtis was the picture editor and we had two staff photographers and an intern, and even then it was a well-oiled machine."

Proctor says he plans to stay in Midland for some time, that he's not yet looking to move on. "I've got a lot of room to grow here," he said this morning. 

Proctor is a 2011 graduate of Central Michigan University, and he interned at the Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot and The Virginian-Pilot. And while he was in college Proctor was a multimedia intern at the Denali National Park in Alaska.

The Cliff Edom "New America Award" is another of NPPA's top honors. It recognizes excellence in photographic storytelling about rural or ethnically diverse people. Clifton C. Edom (1907-1991), a University of Missouri School of Journalism professor, co-founded the Missouri Photographic Workshop with his wife, Vilia, in 1949. A fundamental belief behind NPPA's Edom Award is that in urban communities and rural towns the spirit of diversity is celebrated and witnessed in everyday life, and the award intends to recognize award-winning photographic storytelling about communities, groups, and issues in America that are often under-covered by the mainstream press.

"To have our story associated with Cliff Edom’s remarkable legacy, which embodies the highest standards and ideals in our photojournalism mission, is a true honor indeed," Gehrz said. Today he told News Photographer magazine how this year's winner, "Trading Tradition for Oil," came about.

"Editors Nancy Barnes and Rene Sanchez had this idea to send me and reporter Curt Brown out to North Dakota for about four months, but of course that all changed and we made four trips for about a month," Gehrz said. 

"Curt was a good sport because I wanted to drive my truck out each time, loaded with all my gear, and you can't fly with all that stuff. It [North Dakota and oil] was something I've never seen before, and it was an historic kind of story. We did some research and started to meet people, but the big problem was we needed context, we needed to get onto an oil rig. On the final trip that worked out, and we were on a rig. And of course we had to be doing multimedia at the same time. But with this new gear, with these DSLR cameras, I was able to pare down to a smaller set-up with just a little light and just enough audio."

 

NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism judges today also announced the runners-up in the top categories:

In the Photojournalist of the Year (Larger Markets) category the runner-up is Lacy Atkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, and third place is Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times. An honorable mention was awarded to freelancer Fabio Bucciarelli of Turin, Italy.

In the Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets) category the runner-up is Corey Perrine of the Naples (FL) Daily News, and third place is Scott McIntyre, also of Naples. Honorable mentions were awarded to Chris Howell of The Herald-Times in Bloomington, IN, and Jeremy Papasso of the Boulder (CO) Daily Camera.

The Cliff Edom "New America Award" runner-up is Stephanie Strasburg of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for "In The Shadow Of Steel." And in third place is Nick Oza of The Arizona Republic for "America's Broken Borders."

NPPA's judges in the Still Photojournalism, Editing, and Multimedia categories commented on this year's Best Of Photojournalism judging process.

"Having time to study the entries before having to rate them made a huge difference for our judging panel," Best Of Photojournalism contest judge Scott Sines said. 

"We completely avoided that 'gun-to-the-head' up-or-down call on stories that we'd never seen before. It's totally unfair, in my opinion, to take the whole body of a person's work over the course of a year and judge it in the wink of an eye. The entrants deserve a considered response, not a knee-jerk reaction."

Sines said that because of the extra time judges spent reviewing and considering the finalists before the in-person judging on the Ohio University VisCom campus, the panel's conversations started at a much higher level. 

"Instead of hearing judges say, 'It just doesn't move me,' we heard a more reasoned opinion of why an entry didn't succeed. We had time to articulate our thoughts. The conversations started from well-considered points of view. Instead of flying in for three days and getting blisters from madly pushing buttons on a box, judges will have to set a good deal of time aside in advance. Most of the judges on the panel I worked with had already spent about three full days on the entries before we arrived. Then we spent another three days in discussion at the university. So the feedback is much more valuable." 

In the more traditional judging format, Sines said, entries with immediate emotional impact had a contest advantage. Using this format, he said he believes that subtlety in visual storytelling has more of an equal chance. 

"If the goal of these contests is to set standards of excellence, it only makes sense to adopt this format," Sines said.

Final judging in this year's Best Of Photojournalism contest was completed last weekend at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication in Athens, OH, and it was coordinated by NPPA BOP Contest Committee chair Terry Eiler and OU VisCom associate professor of visual communication Stan Alost.

The final judges for the Stills contest were photojournalist Cheryl Diaz Meyer, Kenny Irby of The Poynter Institute, photojournalist Bill Luster, and NPPA president Mark Dolan.

Final judges for the Editing contest were Sines, Eric Strachan, and Harry Walker.

Final judges for the Multimedia contest were Tom Kennedy, Jody Sugrue, Melanie Burford, and Karl Kuntz.

Earlier the primary round judges were Kendrick Brinson, Robert Caplin, Bob Carey, Sean D. Elliot, Ben Gray, Kevin Martin, James Michalowski, Steve Jessmore, Michael P. King, Peggy Peattie, Martha Rial, Greg Smith, Phaedra Singelis, Cindi Christie, Todd Buchanan, David Tulis, Dave Weatherwax, Willie Allen Jr., and Caroline E. Couig.

 

Best Of Photojournalism judges today also released winners in the remaining Still Photojournalism categories:

In the Domestic News Single category, first place is John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe for "Marathon Terror." Second place is Sue Ogrocki of the Associated Press, and third place is Jerry Wolford of the News & Record. Honorable mentions were awarded to Karen Quincy Loberg of the Ventura County Star, Brennan Linsley of the Associated Press, and Kelvin Ma of Bloomberg.

In the Domestic News Picture Story category, first place is John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe for "Boston Marathon Terror." Second place is Sue Ogrocki of the Associated Press, and third place is Nick Oza of The Arizona Republic. Honorable mentions were awarded to Michael DeMocker of The Times-Picayune and Jeremy Papasso of the Boulder Daily Camera. 

In the International News Single category, first place is Claudio Santana of Agence France-Presse for "Protect." Second place is Paula Bronstein of Getty Images, and third place is Roman Pilipey. Honorable mentions were awarded to Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter and Adam Dean of Panos PIctures for Time magazine.

In the International News Picture Story category, first place is Tyler Hicks of The New York Times for "Attack On A Kenyan Mall." Second place is Paula Bronstein of Getty Images, and third place is Bulent Kilic of Agence France-Presse. Honorable mentions were awarded to freelancer Kevin Frayer, Charlie Shoemaker of Getty Global Assignments for Yahoo News, Adam Dean of Panos PIctures for Time magazine, and Abir Abdullah of European Pressphoto Agency. 

In the General News Single category, first place is Bernat Armangue of the Associated Press for "Bloody Embrace." Second place is Magnus Wennman of Aftonbladet, and third place is A.M. Ahad for the Associated Press. Honorable mentions were awarded to Matthew Hinton of the New Orleans Advocate, Jay Janner of the Austin American-Statesman, and Kevin Dietsch of United Press International.

In the Feature category, first place is Kevin Frayer of the Associated Press for "Self Flagellation." Second place is John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe, and third place is Dina Litovsky of Polaris Images. Honorable mentions were awarded to Michael Ciaglo of the Colorado Spring Gazette, Anja Niedringhaus of the Associated Press, Andres Kudacki of the Associated Press, Mads Nissen of Panos Pictures, and Roberto Schmidt of Agence France-Presse.

In the Sports Action category, first place is Susana Vera of Reuters for "Goring." Second place is Mark Blinch of Reuters, and third place is Mark J. Terrill of the Associated Press. Honorable mentions were awarded to Suhaimi Abdullah of Getty Images, Francisco Leong of Agence France-Presse, Daniel Sannum Lauten of Agence France-Presse, and Biel Alino of ZUMA Press.

In the Sports Feature Single category, first place is Alex Brandon of the Associated Press for "Dodging the Gatorade." Second place is Jon-Michael Sullivan of The Augusta Chronicle, and Stephen McCarthy of Sportsfile. Honorable mentions were awarded to Larry McCormack of The Tennessean, Matt Gade of The Deseret News, Jacob Ehrbahn of Politiken, and Daniel Sannum Lauten of Agence France-Presse.

In the Sports Picture Story category, first place is Jonas Bendiksen of National Geographic magazine for "The Last Of The First Skiers." Second place is Mark Ovaska of The New York Times, and third place is Nick Laham. Honorable mentions were awarded to Kevin Dietsch of United Press International and Nick Laham shooting for ESPN magazine.

In the Pictorial category, first place is Pete Marovich shooting for Corbis for "Eiffel Tower Tango." Second place is David Goldman of the Associated Press, and third place is Charlie Shoemaker. Honorable mentions were awarded to Wang Song of ZUMA Press, Babak A. Tafreshi of ZUMA Press, and Mikolaj Nowacki of CNN Photos.

In the Contemporary Issues Single category, first place is Sara Naomi Lewkowicz of Ohio University for her picture story on domestic abuse. Second place is Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post, and third place is freelancer Francois Pesant. Honorable mentions were awarded to Michael Forster Rothbart shooting for TED Books, Ohio freelancer Daniel Owen, Elizabeth Frantz of The Fayetteville Observer, and Italian freelancer Fabio Bucciarelli.

In the Contemporary Issues Picture Story category, first place is Noriko Hayashi of Panos Pictures for "Unholy Matrimony." Second place is Tony Bo of Getty Images, and third place is KM Asad of Drik. Honorable mentions were awarded to John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe, Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post, Joshua Bright of The New York Times, and Mary F. Calvert shooting for ZUMA Press.

In the Best Published Picture Story (Larger Markets) category, first place is Sara Namoi Lewkowicz of Ohio University for "Maggie," her picture story on domestic violence. Second place is Javier Arcenillas of CNN Photos, and third place is Lisa Krantz of the San Antonio Express-News. Honorable mentions were awarded to Linda Davidson of The Washington Post, Preston Gannaway in Time's Lightbox, and Nicole Fruge of the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the Best Published Picture Story (Smaller Markets) category, first place is Sean Proctor of the Midland Daily News for "Fight For Katie K." Second place is Anthony Wahl of The Monroe Times, and third place is Corey Perrine of the Naples (FL) Daily News. Honorable mentions were awarded to Chuck Miller, and to Scott McIntyre of the Naples (FL) Daily News.

In the Portrait & Personality Single category, first place is Magnus Wennman of Aftonbladet for "Merullah." Second place is freelancer Jeremy Lock, and third place is Allison Shelley shooting for Polaris. Honorable mentions were awarded to Joshua Bright of The New York Times, Mark Blinch of Reuters, Anik Rahman of NrPhoto Agency, and Nikki Kahn of The Washington Post.

In the Portrait Series category, first place is Tomasz Gudzowaty of Yours Foundation for "Citizens Of Paradise." Second place is Dmitry Kostyukov, and third place is Magnus Wennman of Aftonbladet. Honorable mentions were awarded to Jacquelyn Martin, Oded Balilty of the Associated Press, and Greek freelancer Nikos Pilos.

In the Environmental Single category, first place is Fedoseyev Lev of ZUMA Press for "Where's Santa?" Second place is Ed Ou of Getty Images, and third place is Jay Capters of Randolph Community College. Honorable mentions were awarded to Rolf Maeder of ZUMA Press, Nicola Angelo Mangia, and Paolo Marchetti.

In the Environmental Picture Story category, first place is Ed Ou of Getty Images for "The Polar Bear Hunters." Second place is Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and third place is Paolo Marchetti. Honorable mentions were awarded Kemal Jufri of Panos Pictures, Nicola Angelo Mangia, and Ami Vitale shooting for Nature magazine.

In the Non-Traditional Photojournalism Publishing category, first place is Peter Hove Olesen of ZUMA Press for "Haiyan Aftermath." Second place is Mary F. Calvert of ZUMA Wire, and third place is Ismail Ferdous. Honorable mentions were awarded to Bradley Garrett of ZUMA zReportage, and Ivan Kashinsky.

NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism contests were sponsored again this year by VisCom at Ohio UniversityCamera Bits, and by Michigan State University's School of Journalism.