Judged by the photo staff at The Day, New London, Conn.; Sean D. Elliot, Suzanne Ouellette, Dana Jensen, Tim Cook, Tim Martin, Adena Stevens, Peter Huoppi.
1. Noah Murray, The Star Ledger, Fire Victim
2. Michael Karas, Herald News, Soldier Funeral
3. James Anness, The Record, Wader
Comments: General news is the bread and butter of the daily newspaper photographer. As such, it was sad to see the really mediocre spot-news entries in this category that we can only assume were included because the photographers were of the belief that a spot-news photo gets greater consideration just because of the basic f8 and be there nature of the image. The judges felt strongly that just being there is not enough, you must execute with strong composition, use of light and emotional content. Noah Murray’s fire victim was clean, well composed and you could feel the man’s grief. Michael Karas’ soldier funeral was nicely composed and clean. James Anness’ flood victim was both dramatic and yet humorous.
1. Thomas Franklin, The Record, Hospital Dog
2. Danielle Richards, The Record, Hot Air Balloon
3. David M. Warren, Philadelphia Inquirer, Guitar Detail
Comments: An unusual number of entries in this category were very clearly of a news variety, funerals and other planned news events. This gave the judges fits, as we wanted to apply our “found moment” standard to this category and yet there were virtually no good examples of this type of photography in the category. Some of the general news type images entered in this category might have fared well in the news category but we were not permitted to re-classify entries. Thomas Franklin’s therapy dog photo column was probably the ONE feature image we liked across the board. One could argue that it also was “general news”, but we give the photographer credit for “finding” the moment through hard work and enterprise. It’s a nice moment. Second went to Danielle Richards for a classic visual feature with nice light and color. David M. Warren’s detail from a guitar maker’s workshop was a striking black and white composition.
1. Tyson Trish, The Record, After The Flood
Comments: If this category is an example of the state of documentary photojournalism then things are bleak indeed. There was not a single entry the judges felt rose to a standard of quality worth awarding. Small groups of loosely affiliated photos, or multiple related, but redundant images, simple don’t make the cut. Only one entry demonstrated the commitment of time and effort that should be a bare minimum for this category.
1. Jeff Granit, Edison/Metuchen Sentinel, Lacrosse Hit
2. Bryan Littel, The Bridgeton News, Slide Home
3. William Perlman, The Star Ledger, Catcher Confrontation
Comments: the judges saw a lot of routine action and reaction photos as can be expected in this category. Jeff Granit’s lacrosse won for the tight composition and great faces. Comments of “ouch” and “is that even legal” were made. Bryan Littel’s high-angle of a runner’s headfirst slide home gained favor for the unusual angle and nice composition. William Perlman’s catcher pleading with the ump placed for the great face in a dramatic moment. Most judges felt the shot was a little loose on the crop though.
1. Jerry McCrea, The Star Ledger, Do The Math
2. Sarah Rice, The Star Ledger, Miracle Nail
3. Leslie Barbaro, Herald News, Groucho Glasses
Comments: Jerry McCrea’s striking black and white portrait of the math teacher jumped-out. The formulae on the clear sheet in the foreground may be a relatively obvious cliché, but the image was nicely composed, cleanly lit and accomplished exactly what a portrait is supposed to, give the viewer a sense of the individual. Sarah Rice’s portrait of the man with his x-ray was chilling both in visual effect and literal interpretation. Not a perfect execution, but good enough. Leslie Barbaro’s portrait of the boys with the Groucho Marx glasses was funny, well executed but would have benefited from a cleaner background.