“There were a lot of entries, many of which were great,” said juror Ian Barry. “Sifting through some 9,000 photos to find the ones that were CA great, was a daunting task.”
“It was fascinating for me to see the condensed essence of a year’s worth of photography at one sitting,” said juror Holly Lindem. “Overall, the work was very impressive—and some was inspiring.”
When asked about what was new, juror George Pitts said, “Nothing, but that wasn’t a problem. There was passion for image-making that more than sufficed.”
“Many photographers seem to be rediscovering a classic photographic language that relies less on special techniques or elaborate postproduction than on the eye of the viewer behind the lens,” said juror Ellen Zaslow. “I was truly impressed by the quality of the photojournalistic entries. The humanity came through without sentimentality; people were not used as icons but remained people—which gave the images more reality, more impact.”
As with any competition of this scale, visual trends become readily apparent. In addition to the desaturated color palette noted by several jurors, Lindem added, “There seemed to be a lot of photographers working within the same vein, or trying out the same style as someone else.”
“Storytelling is back. Still images can have a larger-than-life impact that video can’t deliver.” —Ellen Zaslow
“One thing that stood out was how many series didn’t hold together,” juror Fritz Klaetke said. “There might be one or two great shots, then two or three mediocre or unrelated ones. Photographers could use a good art director to help select the photos to submit.”
“It surprised me that sexuality had such a small presence in such a prestigious competition, given that its presence is so pervasive in editorial photography,” Pitts said. “Those that do submit work seem to be generally aware of the ‘aesthetic’ of this competition: a leaning toward pluralism, classicism and a too-deliberate general conception of what a heavy portrait is.”
When asked about future profit centers Klaetke suggested that commercial photographers look to the Web as a medium for their images and not remain so focused on print. “Since everyone on the Web is now on broadband, large format, high-quality photography is now possible and needed.”
“There is one more way to increase profits,” Barry added. “Stop sending me direct mail pieces! They go from my mailbox straight into the mailroom garbage.”
This year’s jurying began on Sunday morning, April 22nd at our offices in Menlo Park, California. We worked in two large conference halls specially built for our competitions, each equipped with projectors for digital entries and six rows of tables for tear-sheets and proofs.
“There is one more way to increase profits. Stop sending me direct mail pieces! They go from my mailbox straight into the mailroom garbage.” —Ian Barry
The jurors worked in two groups of three; I was the sixth judge during the screening process. All but the smallest categories had been divided so each team screened half of the entries submitted. The jurors alternated between viewing a round of digital files and then a set-up of print entries.
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 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 juror. Finalists on slides and digital files were voted on by each juror checking “in” or “out” on scoring sheets.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects they were directly involved in. When a judge’s piece was in the finals, either Jean Coyne or I would cast the fifth vote.
One hundred seventy-four entries were chosen, representing the work of 151 photographers. Decisions on size and placement were based on reproduction evaluations, pacing and the need to control press channels and ink usage for web printing.
I would like to thank our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting the 48th Photography Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca