“The vast majority of the photography submitted was elegant, well executed and quite impressive,” said juror Shana Darnell. “It was nice to see such a variety of genres of photography and subject matter. It broadened my scope of what we could be entering asa company to the competition.”
“There was some wonderful creative thinking and technical execution, especially in the commercial work,” said juror Sarah Leen. “Also editorial portrait photography was quite strong.”
Juror David Meredith noted a considerable amount of post-production work done on the submissions, a trend that certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing. “Clients must like the illustrative quality that reminds me of airbrushing from years ago,” he said.
“For a while now I felt creativity and ideas were taking a back seat to the digital capabilities we have,” said juror David Allan Brandt. “But if the concept isn’t there, the image doesn’t work. It’s nice to see photographers starting to use digital as just another tool in their belt and not as the end all.”
So why weren’t more photographs selected for inclusion? “There were a number of photos that had good ideas behind them, but the executions were not as well thought-out or applied,” said juror Jim Genell. “Many needed to take that extra step.”
“I was surprised how many of the series were badly edited,” Brandt said. “There would be one, two or three great shots and then some other images that were not nearly as good.”
“My biggest disappointment was the paucity of photojournalism entries,” Leen said. “I wish more photographers who are shooting documentary work would enter so there would be stronger representation in the annual.”
“The truly great photos stayed with me. I still remember them weeks after judging; those particular images resonated because they were exceptional.” —Jim Genell
Meredith observed an inconsistent quality in the multimedia category. “We should be seeing more photographers bringing their sense of light and composition to film shorts as the tools to do
so (DSLR cameras that shoot video, Final Cut Pro, etc.) become much more accessible,” he said.
When asked about the future, several jurors agreed that video/multimedia will become a greater part of every photographer’s career. “It is a logical progression for a photographer to expand his/her talents, and I am seeing some imaginative and fun executions that alter the conventions of video making,” Genell said.
“The photography industry is going 100 mph in the direction of multimedia works,” Darnell said. “As a photo department, we are being asked to produce more and more DSLR video content. Still photographers are expected, in all genres, to be fluent in capturing the moving image.”
Regardless of future technical developments, photography’s role in culture and commerce is assured. “We will always be an image-driven society,” Genell concluded. “In an age where information and stimuli are coming at us en masse, the immediacy of any particular image to make us stop, and perhaps transport us, is still very powerful.”
“Photography is starting to get past the over-emphasis on digital and is moving toward a more fundamentally artistic approach.” —David Allan Brandt
This year’s jurying began the morning of Sunday, April 15. We worked in two large conference halls, each equipped with projectors for digital entries and six rows of tables for tearsheets and proofs.
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 submitted. The judges alternated between viewing a session of projected digital files and then a setup 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. Four out of five votes 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 53rd Annual Exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca
David Allan Brandt is known internationally as a creative photographer with a keen eye for combining art and advertising. His commercial work, along with his personal projects that range from the conventional to the abstract, always search for using the ordinary to create an extraordinary expression of life and art. His images have won him over 150 national awards from American Photography, Applied Arts, Archive, Communication Arts, Graphis, IPA, PDN and many more as well as having his work featured in several of these and other books, publications and exhibitions.
Shana Darnell, a photo editor at Turner Broadcasting/CNN, has over twenty years of experience in the visual arts. Darnell earned a BFA in photography from the Atlanta College of Art. Her passion led her to Paris, where she worked in the fashion industry, then New York City, where she worked for Condé Nast, Corbis and Gamma. At Turner Broadcasting/CNN, her contributions have been recognized by Peabody and Communication Arts. Darnell is currently preparing creative for the 2012 election and building her portfolio of portrait work.
Vice President/Associate Creative Director
Leo Burnett Chicago
Jim Genell is vice president, associate creative director at Leo Burnett in Chicago. Genell got his start in the ad business working as a photo assistant for Kurt Lauer, a well-revered photographer in Chicago. After working at Sears Roebuck's in-house agency in Chicago, Genell attended The Portfolio Center and eventually landed a job at Leo Burnett. After nineteen years with Burnett, Genell considers himself to be fortunate working alongside the best talent and getting exposed to the best work this industry has to offer.
Senior Photo Editor
After nearly twenty years working as a freelance photographer for National Geographic, Sarah Leen joined the magazine staff as a senior photo editor in 2004. Leen graduated with a BA in fine arts from the University of Missouri, Columbia and continued there with graduate studies at the School of Journalism. Leen has won numerous awards for her photography in the Pictures of the Year (POYi) and World Press Photos competitions. In 2007 and 2008 she won first place Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio from POYi and several individual Best of Photojournalism editing awards in 2010.
Pilot New York
A former art director at Martha Stewart Omnimedia and founder of the design firm Pilot New York, David Meredith is also a photographer whose clients include Ralph Lauren and Anthropologie. Meredith studied design and photography simultaneously at Brigham Young University. He has designed magazines, packaged products and worked on TV commercials from Vermont to Buenos Aires. His award-winning work has been featured in AIGA, The Art Directors Club, Communications Arts, The One Show, Type Directors Club and many others. He also tells very funny stories (like the one about Nan Talese and Helmet Newton).