“I always enjoy the effort and consideration in choosing a surface that best supports a photograph,” said juror Frank Dattalo. “However, there is no denying the quality, cost and efficiency of a digital image.”
“What surprised me was not how few physical entries there were, but what a difference in impression each medium—prints vs. projected images—could give viewers,” said juror Mine Suda.
When looking over the work, juror Matt Rollins was amazed at how obviously the great work stood out. “There were thousands of beautiful images, but some just reached out and grabbed me with their depth, their energy, their humanity and their narrative,” he said. “I found the variety of work and ideas to be fascinating,” said juror David Griffin. “The level of post-production polish on many of the best images was impressive. That said, there were still quite a large number of muddled concepts and images that seemed to be thought up by committee.”
Several jurors cited a departure from what they traditionally thought of as photography. “Many images seemed to be more like illustrations that utilize photography as a tool, rather than images composed inside a camera,” juror Diana Koenigsberg said. “I come from a strictly documentary world, so I am not used to seeing so much fabricated work,” added Griffin.
“I think the best advertising work had greater impact when it skirted closer to documentary because it built off of the viewer’s sense that the image ‘might’ be real.” —David Griffin
When asked about their disappointments, Suda also cited indiscriminate digital manipulation. “Where appropriate it can produce great work, but many people can’t seem to tell where to stop,” she said. “I was a bit disappointed in how little experimentation there seemed to be,” Rollins said. “Sure, there were Photoshop fireworks, but it didn’t seem that many photographers were asking, ‘What if I tried this?’”
As the field continues to evolve, several jurors remain optimistic about photography’s future. “I think we will continue to be inspired by beautiful images,” Dattalo said. “The great photographers stay relevant by embracing technology to help them create inspiring photographs.” Koenigsberg added, “Regardless of the photographic methods people choose to employ now and in the future, what will remain the same is that authenticity and originality make compelling images.”
This year’s jurying began on Sunday morning, April 19. We worked in two large conference halls, each equipped with projectors for digital entries and six rows of tables for tear sheets and proofs.
“The field of photography is undergoing a period of dramatic technical change that alters the creative and professional experience for all who practice the craft.” —Diana Koenigsberg
The jurors worked in two groups of three; I was the sixth judge during the screening process. All categories had been divided so each team screened half of the entries sub-mitted. The judges alternated between viewing a session of projected digital files and then a set-up of print entries. Any juror could place a photograph in the finals by handing a printed piece to a member of the CA crew. Digital files were screened by checking the “in” or “out” column on prepared scoring sheets.
The final voting took place on Monday with all five jurors working together. Print entries were again spread out on the tables. Two paper cups, one white for “in,” the other red for “out,” with slots cut in the bottom, were placed upside down to the right of the pieces. The jurors voted by putting a different colored tile into the bottom of the appropriate cup. The different colored tiles allowed us to make sure that every entry was voted on by every judge. Finalists submitted as digital files were again voted on by each juror checking “in” or “out” on scoring sheets. A simple majority was required for acceptance.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects they were directly involved in creating. When a judge’s piece was in the finals, either Jean Coyne or I would cast the fifth vote.
I would like to thank each of the judges for their conscientious efforts in selecting our 50th Annual Exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca
Group Creative Director
Frank Dattalo is group creative director at Energy BBDO in Chicago, Illinois. He studied photography and design at Rochester Institute of Technology in his hometown of Rochester, New York. Dattalo began his career as an art director at Buck & Pulleyn in upstate New York before joining Saatchi & Saatchi in 1996, as senior art director on the Kodak Professional account. Over the next five years, he collaborated with the world's premier photographers, traveling the globe to develop campaigns to support Kodak Professional films. In 2001, Dattalo moved to the Midwest to work as a creative director at Energy BBDO (formerly BBDO Chicago).
Director of Photography
David Griffin is the director of photography of National Geographic magazine headquartered in Washington, DC. He helps shape the photographic direction of the magazine, working directly with contributing photographers from around the globe. Previously he was the creative director of U.S. News & World Report, design director of National Geographic Books and associate director of layout and design at National Geographic magazine. Griffin has been honored by the National Press Photographer Association, University of Missouri's Pictures of the Year competition, Association of Magazine Publishers, Ohio Newspaper Photographer Association, the Hearst Collegiate Photojournalism Awards, the Washington Art Directors Club, the Society of Newspaper Design, Print and Communications Arts.
Diana Koenigsberg was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her photography projects an empowered feminine perspective that is independent and unapologetically confident. Utilizing vibrant colors, geometric shapes and carefully choreographed gestures, she photographs her subjects in scenarios that are simultaneously elegant, highly stylized, ironic, humorous and poignant. Koenigsberg studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, and then received her BA in photography at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In May of 2006 Communication Arts magazine published a feature article on her work. She has been honored on multiple occasions by CA as well as Photo District News.
Matt Rollins is partner and creative director at ICONOLOGIC, a design firm based in Atlanta. His team creates branded content for leading corporate and cultural institutions such as Coca-Cola, GOOD magazine, the International Olympic Committee, The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Volkswagen and André Benjamin. Rollins graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia, with a B.A. in English, and Portfolio Center in Atlanta. After starting his career at Frankfurt Balkind Partners in New York, Rollins joined Atlanta design firm EAI. Now he is the editor of ReasonsForOptimism.com, a founding member of Breather.org, serves on the Advisory Board of Creative Circus, and is a frequent speaker and design juror.
Mine Suda started her career as a graphic designer in Tokyo upon graduating from the University of Tsukuba. After working on editorial and music-related design at ASYL from 1998 to 2000, she came to New York to further study typography at the School of Visual Arts. She has been a designer for powerHouse Books since 2004, during which time she has designed over 30 titles including, Black Light by Kehinde Wiley, But That's Another Story: A Photographic Retrospective of Milton H. Greene, Flight Attendants by Brian Finke, Made in the UK , The Other Half of the Sky by Lili Almog, R.F.K.: A Photographer's Journal by Harry Benson and Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection.