We felt the full impact of the recession with a significant drop in entries to this year’s Photography Annual. Still, 6,075 entries, totaling more than 13,000 images is a lot to judge in just two days.
“I was surprised by having to view images of corpses in Haiti preceded by a fashion spread and trying to stick to the task at hand—judging the merit of the photograph,” juror Leslie Baldwin said.
“The advertising work was a little underwhelming,” juror Reed Collins said. “Having said that, the Mandela Day and Halls cough drop portrait series were a couple of my favorites. I was also surprised to see so many images of pets entered. I’m an animal lover, but come on.”
Several jurors commented on the impact of rampant digital post-production. “I thought that some of the images were trying too hard and could have benefited by a bit more restraint,” juror Jane Perovich said. “Whether it was a matter of overworked digital manipulation or overall concept, sometimes more was just more—not better.”
“Old ideas repackaged with new Photoshop techniques does not make them new ideas,” said juror RJ Muna.
“Original, authentically inspiring images that are emotionally accessible will continue to be the foundation for what informs us, makes us think and ultimately captivates us.” —Jane Perovich
Juror Takaaki Matsumoto was a bit more philosophical. “In this judging process, I found myself questioning what is photography today? Is it the illustration of an idea based on an image that happened to be photographed or is it creating/manipulating a photographic image to archive one’s vision?”
When asked about the future of commercial photography, advice ranged from short-term practical to long-term career direction. “I think simply being organized and prepared for resale is a potential way
to make extra income,” Baldwin said. “Have a searchable Web site, make it easy to be contacted and easy to obtain high resolution files.”
“I think if photographers are to survive, they must work in many arenas and cross-market their services,” Muna said. “Gone are the days when people could specialize in one area of still photography.” Perovich agreed. “Diversification is key in today’s marketplace and photographers need to be open to exploring a multi-pronged approach to getting their images seen, distributed and licensed in as many ways as possible. ‘Traditional’ and ‘different’ need not be mutually exclusive.”
“The editorial entries were by far the most innovative—stunning images.” —Reed Collins
This year’s jurying began the morning of Sunday, April 18. 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 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 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 51st Annual Exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca
Leslie Baldwin, photography editor of Austin, Texas-based Texas Monthly, made a pinhole camera out of a shoebox for a sixth grade science project and was hopelessly hooked. She earned degrees in fine arts and art history from the University of Texas, indulged her wanderlust with European jaunts and was an au pair in Paris [France]. Her next stop was New York, where she found freelance gigs—eventually becoming Matt Mahurin’s studio manager and then cover coordinator for Time creative director Arthur Hochstein. After eight years in New York City, a little homesick and a lot hungry for genuine Tex-Mex, Baldwin jumped at an offer from Texas Monthly and moved back to Austin in 2003. She is married and has a young daughter.
SVP Creative Director
Reed Collins is senior vice president, creative director at Leo Burnett in Chicago, Illinois. After graduation from the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, Collins has spent the last fifteen years working at creative agencies on four continents including Mojo & Partners Sydney, Hunt Lascaris TBWA Johannesburg, Lowe Howard-Spink London, Cliff Freeman & Partners New York and creating for brands such as McDonald’s, Staples, Hollywood Video, Qantas, BMW, P&G, Olympus, Stella Artois, Smirnoff, Fox Sports, Kellogg’s, Altoids, Greenpeace and Nintendo. He has won every international award several times over across a wide range of categories. In 2001, Collins was the most awarded creative in the world for his Fox Sports campaign according to the Gunn Report.
Takaaki Matsumoto is the principal and president of New York-based Matsumoto Incorporated, a consulting firm specializing in graphic and product design. Matsumoto is a native of Japan and came to the United States in 1974. He attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and then served as art director for Knoll International in New York City. He was invited to lecture and show his work at New York’s chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, School of Visual Arts and Fashion Institute of Technology. His work is included in the collections of various museums including the Library of Congress, Chicago Athenaeum, Montréal Museum of Decorative Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
RJ Muna Pictures
RJ Muna is widely known as an innovative and multifaceted creative photographer. From his studio in San Francisco, and various locations throughout the world, he has produced acclaimed print work for many clients including Adidas, America West Airlines, Aspen Ski Resorts, Cadillac, Columbia Sportswear, Hewlett Packard, Honda, International Truck, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, San Francisco Ballet, Sony, Levi Strauss & Co., Tesla Motors, Toyota and United Health Care. Muna has won over 150 national awards, including the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Applied Photography and the Lucie Award for Best Commercial Photographer. His work has been featured in Communication Arts and Graphis and his fine art work is represented by several galleries nationally where he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Senior Photo Editor
Jane Perovich is a senior photo editor for Getty Images, one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of still imagery, footage and multimedia products. From their offices in Seattle, she leads a team of photo editors and works directly with select, contributing photographers to provide concepts and art direction for specific photo shoots. Before joining Getty Images as a photo editor over a decade ago, she was the photo research manager at Stone/Seattle for five years. In recent years, Perovich has been a juror for the ICPA/International Conservation Photography Awards, the Earth Day Photo Exhibition Competition and the Environmental Photography Invitational and has provided photographer reviews for the annual Photographic Center Northwest Foto Revue and emerging student photographers participating in the Youth In Focus program.