2012 ACP Photo Excellence Awards Winners
General News Picture
Spot News Picture
Judge's comments: Beyond all the usual creative, technical and photojournalistic categories, techniques and imperatives editors use to evaluate and select winning feature photos, there are a few others. One such other category is best labeled “unusual,” which is otherwise known as the “you don’t see that every day,” category. This photo aptly belongs to that enjoyable classification, as it is a collection of excellent technical and creative execution coupled with being at the right place at the right time with an eye for engaging, captivating composition. This entry cleverly observes the rules of photography and journalism and blends them into a photo worthy of a double- and triple-take. Shot from the near-perfect vantage point in the horizontal and vertical planes using a great focal point (the subject’s nose) and taking advantage of floor, wall and ceiling leading lines, the subject’s concentration on preparing for her performance is evident. The subject’s stretching legs are mirrored in the tiled walls, ceiling and floor. The open door at right and the subject’s stare makes us wonder ‘what is she thinking about; what’s happening in there?’ The visual nexus created by the receding leading lines (front to back) and the phantom right-to-left line established by her stare through the opened door keeps our attention in the foreground on the subject, where it should be yet gives the photo a depth of perspective yielding a near third dimension, which is hard to achieve in a 2-dimensional medium. The near-white floor allows all the detail in the woman’s costume, hair and skin to emerge with very light editing, preserving the photojournalistic veracity of the moment. Taken as a whole, this is a highly publishable photograph for the limited feature photo space available in print news media and a very desirable shot for multiple categories, especially featured photos, in digital form on the web and for stock houses.
Judge's comments: Fisheye photography is a difficult creative enterprise to meld with photojournalism but when done well, it has great application within the feature photography category of the craft. The photographer had the difficult assignment of illustrating the subject’s obsession with collecting Beatles recordings and memorabilia. Using good technical and creative analysis, judgment and technique, the photographer wisely took up the fisheye challenge and came away with a noteworthy and winning photograph. The confluence of the sheer number of recordings and memorabilia displayed with the contrasting primary colors in the environment well-illustrates the collector’s interests. The extent of this collector’s hobby activity is captured while still not making the room appear too busy or cluttered so that the essence of the subject is still presented and is easily apprehended.
Judge's comments: There’s an old news expression that says: “In wartime, war news sells papers.” The truth of that statement is illustrated in the sheer number of hard news stories and photographs from the front lines of various wars that have won the Pulitzer Prize. Like it or not, 2012 finds us at the tail end of one war, Iraq, and our diminishing presence in another, Afghanistan. Recognizing the reality of the current news environment involves embracing news about those wars, in general, and about this country’s military history and institutions in particular. Currently, we are immersed in a tide of nationalistic pride and respect and admiration for the soldiers of our uniformed services. This is a marked difference from what occurred during and following the conclusion of the Vietnam War. However, soldiers from the World War I and II eras and the Korean War are still held in highest esteem as ‘the Greatest Generation.’ These soldiers are accorded the highest respect by the current generation of soldiers and civilians. And chief among these “most respected” of the Greatest Generation are those who survived internment as prisoners-of-war. With their number dwindling by the day due to advancing age and service-related injuries and handicaps, those fortunate to still be among us are esteemed all the more highly as ‘living legends’ and deservedly so. With that context explained, this photograph belongs to another infrequently utilized but highly important feature category, the category of “timelessness,” which finds expression in the juxtaposition of past with present coupled with poignancy, profound meaning and emotionalism that evokes deep feelings of important national values. The photographer has made a photograph laden with multiple levels of meaning to anyone who embraces a sense of patriotism and nationalism or who has served or serves in the uniformed military services or knows someone who has. When a photograph can speak to, identify and uncover in the viewer these profound feelings and cause them to linger and think about them, even if its technical or creative execution is not flawless, it is still a winning photograph of journalistic importance and great substance. As the Internet transforms our collective memories from oral history to visual history that can be accessed instantaneously, this photograph is literally worth a thousand words.
Judge's comments: This photo is a good illustration of capturing multiple activities while featuring two photo techniques such as frame-within-a-frame and shutter drag. We are treated to a candid moment, peering at the seated subject engrossed in her world. We can see, and almost feel, her concentration while she remains oblivious to both the viewer and the buzzing activity around her. The photographer has wisely chosen a small aperture on a short focal length lens for maximum depth-of-field, a low ISO coupled for a slower shutter speed to highlight the stillness of the subject, in her own world, while recording the motion of pedestrian traffic around her. While a tripod might have enhanced the sharpness of the seated woman, the frame is sufficiently sharp with a hand-held shutter speed of 1/40th to establish the photograph’s mood. The shutter was tripped at a well-planned moment, giving the photograph both a sense of motion and the frame-within-a-frame effect to draw the viewer’s focus of attention to the subject.
Judge's comments: Photojournalism, at its core, is visual reporting using photographic technology. It is storytelling in a single or multiple frames. Each frame should offer both a question – what is going on here? – and provide an answer. The amount of time a viewer spends pondering a photograph is proportional to its substantive power. This photograph is well constructed as to composition and framing, shutter speed, aperture, focus and timing of the shot. But the moment captured is much greater than the sum of its technical parts. The photograph begs the viewer’s consideration at length, arousing the conscious question each journalist wants a reader/viewer to ask: what is going on here? The back-story is as interesting as the photographic illustration and both complement each other at a highly impressive journalistic level. This is both a photograph and story that any feature editor would be more than willing to allocate budget to present to their readership.
Judge's comments: Wow. Nice wide action shot of a unique basketball venue. Lighting and sky add to this image.
Judge's comments: Great jubilation shot. Captured the emotion!
Judge's comments: Nice lines in the swimmer and lane marker. The bubble over her face adds to it.
Judge's comments: Great lines in this shot. I like how the stretched out player brings me to the puck. This disinterest of the fans is priceless.
Judge's comments: Good action! Nice tight crop.
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