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ACP Winners

2011 ACP Photo Excellence Awards Finalists
co-sponsored by National Press Photographers Association

View ACP press release

New this year: ACP is honoring up to 10 entries in each category of the Individual Awards. The top five entries in each category have been announced as finalists, and will be announced as first through fifth place winners later at the fall ACP/CMA convention in Orlando. Up to five honorable mentions have additionally been awarded in each category. The honorable mentions are not ranked.

General News Picture

Judge's comments on General News Winners

General Comments:
All the photographs that placed had real moments, either subtle or not so subtle, that conveyed emotion as well as information from the news event. Interesting composition or a sense of empathy with the subject lifted several images above the rest of the field.

Comments for improvement:
Caption information is critical in this category. This is the perfect place where words and photos can travel parallel paths bringing additional information to the reader.

Spot News Picture

Feature Picture

Judge's comments on remaining Feature Winners:

Photojournalism, and feature photography in particular, continues to undergo radical changes, redefinition and new pressures. Feature editors in all media outlets are especially challenged to find the most captivating images and rapidly feed them to their audiences as soon as possible in an effort to stay one step ahead of their competition.

But the competition is not just the newspaper or magazine down the street, as it once was. The competition is now every other individual or entity in the world with a server, a blog or a social network and a growing word-of-mouth reputation due to a video or image that goes viral on the web in a few clicks of a mouse.

Time and distance are now irrelevancies when discussing intended audiences. Printed and paid circulation numbers have given way to page views, landing time and unique visitors.

What’s a feature editor to do? Talk about a tough job, especially with shrinking budgets, fewer paid staff photographers and diminishing sources of steady advertising revenue.

Competitions like the ACP Photo of the Year help feature editors solve one piece of their job stress: where to find photographers that have the kind of eye and mind that enable them to bring back the “money shot,” a photograph that will draw unique visitors to their publication’s web page, drive up page views and increase landing time, all in service to charging the highest possible advertising rates “per impression.” The longer the viewing time of a particular image, the greater the probability that that unique viewer will linger on a given page to see what else is there of interest. Making an impression is what publishing and photojournalism is all about, now more than ever, since time [viewing an image] literally is money to beget more photography.

Each winning entry in the 2011 competition represents photographic talent that is likely to win future awards. Each of the photographers have got “the stuff,” the ‘eye’ and the ‘mind’ which enable them to see perspectives and moments in daily life that generalize to the widest possible audiences.

A viewer that can recognize a “slice of their life” in a moment captured by one of these photojournalists validates the communication cycle inherent in their efforts: photojournalists mirror our own world back to us in interesting and unique ways further enticing our interest and attention.

Feature photographs help us relate to the world and relate the world to us. All of us are more similar than anyone dares to admit. Feature photojournalists do well to remind us of that similarity daily.

Few people would not be tickled by or fail to do a double-take at the feet and toes of the runner featured in Nick Wallace’s “Vibram Fivefingers” shot. The photo by Tim Riethmiller of the communion service at his university reminds viewers of the process of events in life. Events are rarely “still life” moments.

A close-up view of eye surgery by Mark Samala takes us to the edge of the patient’s personal space and unpacks the fragility of our common human experience before our own eyes.

Upside-down acrobatic dancers featured in Riley Shaaber’s photograph, shift our perspective in physical space. It is a natural effect of our mind’s desire to make “wrong” images “right” in our own mind that causes us to dwell on the photo.

Crowd sports photography bids us to remember our fondest memories in attendance at a favorite game, cheering on our favorite team, and being embedded in an enthusiastic moment, such as that reflected in Makenzie Mason’s “Baylor Chant” photograph.

Daniel Cernero’s powerful image of a tattooed volunteer planting a solitary American flag for part of a memorial tribute to fallen soldiers connects with equally powerful emotions for viewers who are either patriotic supporters or opponents of America’s armed forces.

Finally, in one of the most purely “news”-like photographs that stands squarely in the feature category as well, Kelsey Stein has dramatically shown that a university’s news media is responsible for covering the events that touch the larger community in and around the university. The story of the Tuscaloosa tornado tragedy is hauntingly conveyed, in an eerily Katrina-like way, by Stein’s photograph of the Tuscaloosa resident walking away from his destroyed property and upended life.

The entrants who did not place in the 2011 ACP Photo of the Year competition should not draw the conclusion that their efforts weren’t good enough. They should draw insight, inspiration and strength to enter future competitions from the substance of the winning photographs and the respect the winning photographers have for the effort and time it takes to craft a memorable feature photograph. Congratulations to all.

Sports Picture

Environmental Portrait