Thank you to author Michael Freeman for acting as our guest judge for the February contest! The theme was “street photography,” sponsored by Michael’s, The Photographer’s Story.
First Place Choice: “l’Inspecteur” by Alexandre da Veiga, Braintree, MA, USA
What Michael had to say: Storytelling is notoriously difficult to carry off in a single image, so this was a real challenge. A single image needs a balance between obvious and obscure, but it does need to intrigue. One solution is to hint at something through expression, a suggestion that we might want to know more about what that person is thinking. This image, technically and visually very competent, does that for me.
Second Place Choice: “Alan with lung cancer” by Eleanor Leonne Bennett, High Disley, Cheshire, UK
What Michael had to say: Here’s a perfect case of a meaningful title (which I can’t extend to some of the others!), and interestingly the only submission of the three hundred plus that tackles a painful story head-on. The expression is caught, and there’s an ambivalent relationship with the companion. It’s just slightly let down by the too-heavy printing, but that could be improved by going back to the original raw file.
Third Place: “Cleaning the graffiti” by Apurva Madia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
What Michael had to say: The story here is not really that someone is cleaning up vandalizing graffiti, but includes the idea that the series of photographs (we have to assume the girl here shot them) is of the street in which they are hung, so they are like a series of windows into the scene itself. It helps that the lighting is the same in the image and in the strip. Actually, I sometimes walk up this street to the Moroccan butchers.
I’m not sure that everyone had the storytelling theme in mind when they selected their entries. There were, for instance, a number of good, competent shots that would have done well in a travel-oriented competition, but what we were interested in was how a photographer can give a sense of a story. Some other images were, while again good in themselves, stories only in the photographer’s imagination — the skill is sharing that imagination with viewers.
Thank you to everyone who entered!