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Meet the Jury

Kwaku Alston


Photographer Kwaku Alston graduated from RIT School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and has been working with a diverse roster of commercial clients for the past fifteen years. After several years in New York shooting for The New York Times Magazine, Sony Music, Rolling Stone and Miramax, Alston moved west to Venice, California, and opened his own studio. He has a passion for social documentary photography and is inspired to capture truth and honor, whether in his portraits, landscapes or still lifes. His current direction and vision is to document human inter-action and our role in the natural world land-scape. Career high-lights include photographing Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey’s Legends. Creating historical images of accomplished and inspiring individuals is an opportunity that Alston takes seriously and hopes to continue throughout his career.

Thomas Hull

principal and senior designer
Rigsby Hull

Thomas Hull is principal and senior designer with Rigsby Hull, a Houston, Texas-based communications consultancy. Born into a designer family, Hull was raised around Rubylith and press checks. Educated at Brigham Young University, Hull has developed a passion for clear communication and helping all kinds of organizations better compete by finding and expressing their own unique stories. He is active in the design community and teaches and lectures for organizations and universities around the country. He is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Houston Chapter and the Art Directors Club of Houston.

Amy Koblenzer

photo editor
Gourmet Magazine

Amy Koblenzer is the photo editor of the New York-based magazine Gourmet and has worked in magazine photography for more than twenty years. Before coming to Gourmet, Koblenzer worked at The New York Times Magazine’s special issues as well as Expedia Travels, Departures, Town & Country, Connoisseur, Self and GQ. She was the photo editor at Gourmet when the magazine won the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Award for Photography in 2004 and again for 2007. Along with creative director Richard Ferretti and art director Erika Oliveira, Koblenzer was included in the honor of the design team for 2006, awarded by AdWeek. She is a regular guest lecturer at Inter-national Center of Photography. Ms. Koblenzer lives in New York City.

Travis Olson

design director

Travis Olson is the design director at mono, a creative advertising agency in Minneapolis. Minnesota. A graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, Minnesota, Olson’s work has been recognized by AIGA, Communication Arts, Creativity, Graphis, ID, Print and The One Show. His experience has ranged from Harley-Davidson to Apple, Herman Miller to the Science Channel. If he’s not at mono, you can find him covered in grease from his two vintage bikes, with his two French bulldogs (Taco and Ferdinand) or covered with “Kahs!” from his summer softball team, the Weaselhawks: “Design wanks by day, softball studs by night. If we were as familiar with softball rules as we are with the Pantone books, we’d be dangerous.”

Mary Virginia Swanson

marketing consultant and educator

Mary Virginia Swanson is a marketing consultant and educator based in Tucson, Arizona. Swanson aspires to help photographers find the strengths in their work and identify appreciative audiences for their imagery and creativity. She has a diverse professional background, coordinating educational, publication and exhibition programs for a wide range of institutions and businesses in the field of photography, and is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art. In 1991, she founded Swanstock, an innovative agency managing licensing rights for fine-art photographers. Her lectures on opportunities in emerging multiple markets have proven of great value to photographers in reaching a broader audience. Today, Swanson lectures at educational and public institutions, and consults privately with photographers.