Best Use Of Photography 2012 3rd Quarter Results

The 3rd Quarter 2012 entries in the NPPA Quarterly Photo Editing contest were judged at The Dallas Morning News by photography director Leslie White, photography editors Michael Hamtil and Guy Reynolds, and staff photographers Tom Fox, Brad Loper, and Gerry McCarthy.


News Page:

1st: The Record, July 21

“Moviegoers caught in real-life horror”

Robert S. Townsend, Steve Auchard, Jon Naso and Klaus Peter Steitz with Associated Press photos.


2nd: The Washington Post, Aug. 31

“Swept off her feet”

MaryAnne Golon, Mark Miller, Jeff Loudy and Daniel Britt.


3rd: The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 22

“It’s time for healing to begin”

Wally Skalij, Katie Falkenberg, Rob. St. John, Calvin Hom, Steve Stroud and Dan Santos.


HM: The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 31

“The time has come”

Steve Stroud, Colin Crawford and Kelli Sullivan with photos by Tannen Maury (E.P.A.),  Lynne Sladky (A.P.) and Harry E. Walker (MCT).


HM: The Palm Beach Post, Aug. 29

“Isaac dumped four months’ worth of rain”

Mark Edelson, Gary Coronado and Mike Perkins.


HM: The Washington Post, July 11

“By highway of skyway”

MaryAnne Golon, Bonnie Jo Mount and Christian Font.


Judges’ comments:

This category evoked spirited discussion over the entrants’ different takes on what they felt was news photography – and the judges’ different takes on what defines the best use of photos.

In the end first prize was given to the page that didn’t have the biggest or most elegant photos, but had the most emotional impact, evoked the strongest reaction, and of course had great photo selection, sizing, cropping, juxtapositions and page flow. Second recognizes the excellent use of a single large photo on a news page, despite the fact that it is not a news photo in any sense. It also recognizes what is being done in this photo column (while noting that the lack of clear time references in some of the column’s captions seems to be obscuring the timeliness or lack thereof in some of its images). Third, while having the biggest photo of the three and a nice use of main and secondary images, sparked disagreement over whether the images are just two different takes on the same idea and could have been diversified better, given the great range of images we saw available elsewhere in the same newspaper that day.

The three HM’s each displayed excellent content in the images selected, good dominance in the sizing of the main images, and a clear hierarchy of images and cleanliness of presentation throughout the page.


Feature Page:

1st: The Los Angeles Times, July 29

“Birth control for only a few”

Rick Loomis, Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney and Kelli Sullivan.


2nd: The Palm Beach Post, August 8

“The sweet rewards”

Mark Edelson, Jennifer Podis and Liz Balmaseda.


3rd: The Los Angeles Times, July 26

“Desperation that grows each day”

Rick Loomis, Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney and Kelli Sullivan.


H.M.: The Virginian-Pilot, July 15

“Behind the scenes”

Sean Proctor, Bill Kelley III and Luis Vilches.


H.M.: The Los Angeles Times, July 22

“Barreling toward 11 billion people”

Rick Loomis, Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney and Kelli Sullivan.


H.M.: The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 22

“The last dance was a doozy”

Anne Cusack, Gary Friedman, Marc Martin, Al Seib, Colin Crawford, Rob St. John, Calvin Hom, Jeremiah Bogert and Kelli Sullivan.


Judges’ comments:

The first place winner started at the back of the group as the finalists were narrowed down. Finally, the simple lead image played nine columns without distracting add ons brought this page to the front. Second rewarded the photographer’s, or maybe the editor’s, approach. Again it was simple with impact and a nice selection of detail leads. Third was several in the judges groups first pick for first. The images are solid and the selection and placement are well done. Ultimately we wavered on the selection of the lead image and it moved to third.

The HM from the Virginian-Pilot is a solid feature page that utilizes most of the key elements of good editing and design. The HM from the LAT on overpopulation is a good example of using a dominant lead with two supporting photos. The images were good, but not as strong as others in this category. The last HM from the LAT provided a strong lead image again, but suffered from too many secondary images that were redundant.


Sports Page:

1st: The Washington Post, August 12

“Diving into history”

Roy Saunders, Toni L. Sandys and Chris Rukan.


2nd: The Virginian-Pilot, August 13


Randall Greenwell, Martin Smith-Rodden and the design team with photos by The Associated Press and Getty Images.


3rd: The Los Angeles Times, August 17 

“Call it as they seize it”

Calvin Hom, George Wilhelm, Colin Crawford and Tim Hubbard with photos by Wally Skalij (L.A. Times) and Andrew Yates (AFP/Getty Images).


H.M.: The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 11

“Not just passing fancy”

Wally Skalij, Rob Gauthier, Calvin Hom, George Wilhelm, Colin Crawford and Tim Hubbard.


H.M.: The Washington Post, Aug. 9

“Americans take back the track”

Ray Saunders, Toni L. Sandys and Desmond Beiler with photos by The Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images.


Judges’ comments:

Wow! The winner in this category won for the “third effect” created by the great use of the main image (in a traditional, 6-col, news-style manner), great use of the secondary image in a completely different (illustrative, magazine-style, reverse type on the photo) way, and conscious interplay of the two on the same page. What a great page. The dramatic images, complementary shapes, strong and opposite directions of action, large sizing of each image, and center-weighted display produced a double whammy of visual interest and impact unlike any other entry. Second and third nicely demonstrate the more routine approach to good, clean display of action/reaction photos, while minor flaws in the smallest images on the pages kept the HMs from placing higher, such as the busy (and probably unnecessary) and hard to read type-on-photo in the LA Times’ “Golden Dream Is True” image, and good idea but somewhat undersized panel of three images at the bottom of the Washington Post’s “Americans Take Back the Track” page.


Picture Page:

1st: The Virginian-Pilot, Sept. 3

“Summer’s End”

Vicki Cronis-Nohe, Martin Smith-Rodden and the design team.


2nd: The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 20

“In Syria, populations under fire”

Martin Smith-Rodden and the design team with photos by AFP/Getty Images.


3rd: The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 6

“Ephemeral Olympics”

Martin Smith-Rodden and the design team with photos by The Associated Press and Getty Images.


H.M.: Review Atlas, July 25

“4-H Folk”

Jake May and Nathan Morgan.


H.M.: The Virginian-Pilot, Sept. 17

“There’s no denying”

Preston Gannaway and the design team.


H.M.: The Register-Mail, July 1

Jake May and NIck Adams.



Judges’ comments:

The Virginian Pilot swept the category, with two additional HMs going to the Review Atlas (Monmouth, IL) and The Register-Mail (Galesburg, IL) from an entry pool of 25.

Overall, the pages in the entire group provided us with an expected array of work and a majority of the judges settled on the placement order. All three places showed good execution and selection of images, though second might have benefited from one less photo at the bottom. First offered good variety. Second had a lead with impact. And third a creative approach to display of Olympic images.

The 4-H Folk page is simple with good use of type. The page honors the photographer’s approach of straightforward portraits. Too often, editing and design complicate the shooters work. A number of the outs fell into that category.

It is nice to see publications still devoting space to photo pages.


Multiple Page:

1st: The Commercial Appeal, Sept. 30

“Memphis Poverty”

John Sale, Alan Spearman and Kim Coleman.


2nd: The Los Angeles Times, July 26

“Withering in hunger’s grip”

Rick Loomis, Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney and Kelli Sullivan.


3rd: The Washington Post magazine, July 15

“The district at dark”

Matt McClain, Anne Farrar and Diamond James.


H.M.: The Washington Post, Aug. 5

“The new Iraq”

MaryAnne Golon, Jahi Chikwendiu and Madia Brown.


H.M.: The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 29 

“A church’s choice”

Rick Loomis, Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney and Kelli Sullivan.



Judges’ comments:

Photojournalism in all its forms and meanings competed head-to-head in this hotly contested category, with “What Obama Didn’t See” edging out the other top finalists by a hair for one reason alone: It had no flaws.

The L.A. Times’ powerful photos of hunger and malaise among refugees in Eastern Kenya and perfect use of them across three pages inside had one downfall: the lead off image selected for 1A was not only the weakest of the choices but was displayed with a whimper. Leading Page One with the photo of the protein deficient child (or perhaps the child getting its skin pinched) would have made for a dramatically better front page, even at the same unremarkable size of display.

“The District at Dark” also had much to applaud, but its shortcoming was the lack of variety in the lens choice and subject-to-photographer distance throughout the selected images, yielding a flat look to the pages and feeling of cold impartiality in a visual essay that was about vibrancy and discovery.

Kudos to the photographers, photo editors, page designers, editors, and news management at all the newspapers in this category for proving that not only are long term and in-depth photojournalism projects alive and well at American newspapers today, but for reminding the readers that newspapers are still willing to dedicate the time, money, space, and editorial resources to displaying it the way it deserves to be, for the benefit of those readers.


Comments? Corrections? More information? Next quarter's deadline? Contact BUP contest chair Mark Edelson at [email protected].