First Place: Paul Cohn, Chennai, India
What Richard had to say: This photograph is surrounded by a dark sense of mystery. What appears to be a young woman in dark clothes is ascending a stairway. The girl was carefully photographed when her feet were astride, suggesting movement. A beam of light partially illuminates the stairway and wall, casting a detached shadow of the girl and her wind-blown neckpiece. The black curved area at the right provides an ominous frame. A textured gray and white wall shares the same contour as the black curved wall. In the white area of the wall one can notice a competition, called “contour rivalry,” for dominance. This activates that area and the mystery. The various tonalities, textures and geometry add to an interesting composition. As the young woman walks confidently up the stairs one might ponder who she is, where she came from and where she is going. All these factors adding to the unknown. Engaging in a photograph such as this can stimulate the mind and imagination. The photograph with its dark and black tones works well in conveying a feeling of mystery and possible danger. In color, it would not have the same effect.
Second Place: Tamas Kooning Lansbergen
Title: “Autumn Fruit”
What Richard had to say: Still life in paintings has a very long history. This beautifully balanced photograph takes on a lovely painterly look. The composition is impeccable. The brightly lit grouping of figs atop the bucket provides a near triangular shape. The three figs overflowing and resting on the table suggests abundance (objects in odd number such as three and five are more interesting than even numbers). The fig leaves in the foreground add color and meaning. A quiet textured bluish-gray background helps draw attention to the colorful figs and leaves. The space (interval) between the large circular cover resting against the wall and the bulbous shape bottle is very important. If the interval were not there and the objects were touching, or too far apart, something would be lost. Although part of the bottle is cropped and rests outside the frame we automatically see it as complete thanks to our ability to form closure on incomplete familiar objects. Still life photography provides an excellent opportunity for studying and arranging lighting and composition, as we see here.
Third Place: Kingsley Scott, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
Title: “My Best Man Framed”