Surreal

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for the September contest is “FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY” sponsored by Speedlights & Speedlites, 2nd Edition by Lou Jones, Bob Keenan and Steve Ostrowski.

Acclaimed photographers Lou Jones, Bob Keenan and Steve Ostrowski guide you through the technical and creative aspects of how to use Canon Speedlites and Nikon Speedlights effectively in this indispensable guide, packed full of inspirational images and comprehensive diagrams of the lighting set ups used to capture them.

These small, off-camera flash guns are powerful tools, but getting the most out of them remains a mystery for many. Most photographers still just use their speedlights in the same way as a standard flash gun. This is where this book comes in.

Lou Jones is our guest judge this month.

Lou Jones is a prolific, award-winning photographer who specializes in photo illustration and location photography for corporate, advertising and collateral projects. His client list is as impressive as are his photographs — IBM, FED EX, American Express, Oldsmobile, AETNA, Museum of Fine Arts, Fortune Magazine, US News & World Report and National Geographic. Jones’ assignments have taken him to Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Japan and 46 of the 50 states. Assignments have placed Jones on location at NASA, Boeing, Universal Studios, British Telecom (England) and Saab (Sweden).

Speedlights & Speedlites, 2e is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Speedlights & Speedlites, 2e and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Speedlights & Speedlites, 2e and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Speedlights & Speedlites, 2e

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email sloane.stinson@taylorandfrancis.com

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FISHING_1_FEAT

Thank you to author Michael Freeman for acting as our guest judge for the July contest! The theme was “black & white photography,” sponsored by Michael’s book, Black and White Photography Field Guide



First Place: “Fishing” by Mithun Saha, Gangarampur, West Bengal, India

What Michael had to say:
It’s not just the excellent timing of this shot, but the way in which several image qualities mesh together to create an image which unusually has immediate impact and yet is worth lingering over. The boat is moving diagonally towards the camera, so from this high viewpoint there was only one chance for the shot. See also how the connection between the top of the net and the dark area of ripples top right initiates a long sweeping curve through the men, craft, pole and wake. And in the context of this month’s theme, this is an image that uses black and white purposefully: the contrast of silhouette and the surface texture of the water. Cropping is entirely justified here, holding the three points left, below and right.


Second Place: “Praying” by Guy Dahan, Sceaux, Ile de France, France

What Michael had to say:
Personally, I like ambiguity and uncertainty in pictures, and I don’t see enough of it these days. There’s a sly sense of humor at work here, and I certainly did a double-take when I saw it as a thumbnail. Images that start off as one thing, and take a short while to resolve themselves as something else will almost always get my vote. Beautifully processed, by the way, holding not just the texture of the pale hair but of the dark felt hat also, so it also qualifies nicely in the black-and-white department.


Third Place: “Vintage Shay #5” by Cynthia Sperko, Marietta, Pennsylvania, USA

What Michael had to say:
Irresistible! I’m not even a great fan of steam trains, even though I had an uncle who actually drove them in Yorkshire, but this captures so much that I can feel the appeal. The combination of billowing, tactile smoke from the stack and white steam from the whistle (they couldn’t have filled the upper part of the frame more), and their contrast with the sheen of machinery make this a thoroughly textural image in good black-and-white tradition. Well caught and framed too, even if it has, as I suspect, been cropped a bit to tighten it all up.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to enter August’s contest!  Theme: Surreal Photography

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Surreal

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for the August contest is “SURREAL PHOTOGRAPHY” sponsored by Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible by Daniela Bowker.

Image editing software becomes more powerful with each new software release, with capabilities that go way beyond simple photo editing – you can use it to create the impossible! This month we are celebrating the extraordinary with the theme SURREAL PHOTOGRAPHY sponsored by Daniela Bowker’s book Surreal Photography.

Surreal Photography reveals the latest developments in the field and demystifies the techniques used by modern surreal photographers, whether they favor SOOC (straight out of the camera) or sophisticated digital manipulations. Breaking down the shooting and editing process for any reader to follow and emulate, this book provides step-by-step instructions for creating extraordinary scenes. With contributions from numerous artists—including Natalie Dybisz, Jon Jacobsen and Dariusz Klimczak— readers will be able to explore many different artistic styles from impossible landscapes to unsettling portraits.

Daniela Bowker is our guest judge this month.

Daniela Bowker, photographer, author and curator, is a noted photography journalist with a keen eye on digital art. She is co-author of Ilex Press’ Michael Freeman’s Photo School: Composition and an expert on Photocritic.org.

Surreal Photography is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Surreal Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Surreal Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Surreal Photography

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email sloane.stinson@taylorandfrancis.com

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The_Nutcracker_1_600

Thank you to author J. Dennis Thomas for acting as our guest judge for the June contest! The theme was “urban and rural photography,” sponsored by Dennis’ book, Urban and Rural Decay Photography: How to Capture the Beauty in the Blight .


First Place: “The Nutcracker” by Nathan Ortiz, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

What Dennis had to say:
The complementary pastel colors give it an interesting separation, but still ties it together. The composition falls into place really well, it’s well balanced, yet still maintains a feeling that something is off-kilter.


Second Place: “Waiting” by Mark Andrews, Bend, Oregon, USA

What Dennis had to say:
I love how a wide-angle lens is used, but the frame is filled with the subject. What really makes the composition work for me is the way the fence is used not only as leading lines which draw your eye to the different elements of the image, but also the way the fence is used to frame the farmhouse.


Third Place: “Turn Off the Hot Water” by Chuck Kerr, Orlando, Florida, USA

What Dennis had to say:
The soft lighting really makes this one interesting to me. Too often decay photography is very harsh and jagged, but the softness lends this image a melancholy tone. The way it’s composed with the corner in the middle creates a nice triangle that draws your eye into the center of the image to the sink. The brightness of the window panes separated by the line also leads the eye into the center of the image.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to enter July’s contest!  Theme: Black and White Photography

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Black&White

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for the July contest is “BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY” sponsored by Black & White Photography Field Guide by Michael Freeman.

The popularity of black and white photography has never really waned, but with the rise and accessibility of post-production software making black and white photographs easier to achieve, the interest in this popular and challenging area has exploded. This month we are saluting photography’s roots with the theme black & white photography, sponsored by Michael Freeman’s Black and White Photography Field Guide.

Black and White Photography Field Guide: The essential guide to the art of creating black & white images by renowned photographer Michael Freeman, is a practical guide that fits in your camera bag and is packed with advice on lighting, shooting, conversion and post-production – know-how that no photographer and lover of black and white photos can afford to be without.

Michael Freeman, author of Black & White Photography Field Guide is our guest judge this month.

Michael Freeman is a renowned international photographer and writer who specializes in travel, architecture, and Asian art. He is particularly well known for his expertise in special effects. He has been a leading photographer for the Smithsonian magazine for many years, and has worked for Time-Life Books and Reader’s Digest. Michael is the author of more than 20 photographic books, including the hugely successful The Photographer’s Eye.

Click here for a full list of Michael Freeman’s books.

Black & White Photography Field Guide is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Black & White Photography Field Guide and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Black & White Photography Field Guide and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Black & White Photography Field Guide

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email sloane.stinson@taylorandfrancis.com

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Entangled Venetian Blinds

Thank you to author Shirley Reading for acting as our guest judge for the May contest! The theme was “objects,” sponsored by Shirley’s book, Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition.

What Shirley had to say:
I liked all three of these because they take a fresh look at the most ordinary and everyday of things around us and remind us that you don’t have to travel to make an unusual and compelling image. I liked them because each used colour well and relied on a reduced colour palette which emphasised the colours in the images. I particularly liked the use of line and light in “Entangled;” the evocation of mood in “Empty” and the way an ordinary object becomes mysterious in “Trashed Drum Skin.” But there were lots of excellent images here and it was hard to choose!

First Place Choice: “Entangled” by Kishore Jothady, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


Second Place Choice: “Empty” By John Raimond Gapasin, Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines


Third Place: “Trashed Drum Skin” By Jamie Kronick, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to everyone who entered!

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Urban & Rural Decay

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for the June contest is “URBAN and RURAL DECAY” sponsored by Urban and Rural Decay Photography: How to Capture the Beauty in the Blight by J. Dennis Thomas.

Urban and Rural Decay Photography: How to Capture the Beauty in the Blight offers expert tips and techniques for capturing breathtaking photographs of decay scenes, whether in urban or rural settings. Author J. Dennis Thomas guides you through the history of decay photography, shows you what equipment you will need, and discusses digital, film and HDR capture and composition. The book addresses which artistic considerations work best for the kinds of shots that capture a moment and convey a story. He also provides you with important safety advice and matters of the law when entering and working with decaying structures.

J. Dennis Thomas, author of Urban and Rural Decay Photography is our guest judge this month.

J. Dennis Thomas is a photographer and author based in Austin, TX. He has been photographing a wide assortment of subjects for over two decades and has published over two dozen books and dozens of articles. His photographs have appeared in many prestigious magazines, including Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Country Weekly, and have been displayed in galleries across the country. His fascination with decay photography started in his early career and has continued to develop to this very day.

Urban and Rural Decay Photography is publishing in July, but it is now available for pre-order wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Urban and Rural Decay Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Urban and Rural Decay Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Urban and Rural Decay Photography

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email sloane.stinson@taylorandfrancis.com

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TaJ_1_600

Thank you to authors Dave Stevenson and Nik Rawlinson for acting as our guest judge for the April contest! The theme was “light,” sponsored by Dave and Nik’s, Focus on Photoshop Lightroom.

First Place Choice: “Silhouetted Taj” by Krishnendu Pramanik, Kolkata, West Bengal, India


What Dave had to say: The Taj Mahal is a spectacular thing to shoot, but finding an angle that hasn’t been done before takes an awful lot of work – I photographed it in 2009 and had to crawl out of bed at five in the morning to get a crowd-free shot. This well-realized frame is packed with energy, creating a frame bursting with life that’s a cut above the standard dead-on shot you’re greeted with when you first walk through the gates.

What Nik had to say: It’s unusual to see so famous a building become almost incidental to its setting. Pushing it into the background within the composition gives it a new twist, and speaks volumes about the way in which for those who live close to any landmark, be it the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower or, here, the Taj Mahal, it’s often merely the backdrop to the comings and goings of everyday life. The photographer hasn’t let this remarkable site blind him to the greater story of human existence, with the acrobatic antics of the subjects themselves reminding us that it’s companionship and human interaction that brings true joy and meaning to our lives.


Second Place Choice: “Icy Winds” By Iris Waanders, Vught, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands

What Dave had to say: This image tells a real story. The low camera angle really makes you feel every exhausting step, and the snow blown onto the lens gives you a sense of how hard going things must have been. Shooting straight into the light makes for difficult photography, but it works here, and the black and white processing gives the frame a spartan, high-contrast feel that should make anyone reading this in front of a computer in a warm house feel fortunate.

What Nik had to say: It’s the imperfections in this photo that really make it work, with the spotting on the lens accentuating the extreme conditions in which it was shot. The photographer has perfectly balanced the lighting, despite shooting directly into the sun, while not losing detail in either hiker. The larger of our two walkers sits in a very traditional space to the right of the frame, but allowing the smaller, more distant man to come so close to leaving the image entirely makes the viewer question what might be just beyond the horizon, and ultimately helps us to be drawn in by, and engage with the subject matter.


Third Place: “Little Steps” By Sirsendu Gayen, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

What Dave had to say: Light is everything in this image. Waiting until the monk stepped into the patch of light on the steps has created an image with strong composition, and the wait for a human shape in this image has been well worth it.

What Nik had to say: There’s a fairy tale quality to this image, which takes us back to the stories of our youth. The effect is heightened by the slanted light coming in through the trees, and although this shot may be one of many captured at the same time, the skill has been as much in selecting the best frame as it was in setting up the initial composition. Picking the one image in which the subject has strayed into the light gives it an ethereal quality, while the unusually narrow portrait crop heightens the impact of the steps themselves, and leads the eye up them in the wake of the subject.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

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Exhibiting Photography

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for the May contest is “OBJECTS” sponsored by Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition by Shirley Read.

Exhibiting Photography leads you through the world of exhibiting your photography one minute detail at a time. From finding a space and designing the exhibition to actually constructing a show and publicizing it, every aspect of exhibiting photography is touched upon and clarified with ample detail, anecdotes, and real life case studies. This new and expanded second edition further illuminates the world of social networking, exhibiting, and selling photography online so your work is always shown in the best light.

Shirley Read, author of Exhibiting Photography is our guest judge this month.

Shirley is an independent curator based in London. She teaches exhibition workshops at universities, writes and interviews photographers for the Oral History of British Photography, a sound archive which forms part of National Life Stories at the British Library.  She also writes for numerous magazines including Portfolio, Source, and Creative Camera.

Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition is publishing in July, but it is now available for pre-order wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Exhibiting Photography, 2nd Edition

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email sloane.stinson@taylorandfrancis.com

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Rest_1_640

Thank you to author David Leibowitz for acting as our guest judge for the March contest! The theme was “color,” sponsored by David’s, Mobile Digital Art: Using the iPad and iPhone as Creative Tools.

First Place Choice: “Resting” by Ahmad Zico, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia


What David had to say: Although color is not the subject of this photo, I found the importance of color and in this case, color palette, to be too compelling to ignore. The palette, man-made, is so textured, earthy and real, that it places the subject in a world that envelopes our senses and tells a story. The dashes of color, muted yet in this context, so vibrant, are so distinct from their surroundings, each screams for our undivided attention. Bravo!

Second Place Choice: “Leaving” By Anindya Phani, Kolkata, India

What David had to say: I love this image for multiple reasons. The composition is immaculate, as the lush green path leads our eye to the center of the photo, where the human figures provide scale, splashes of color and a serendipitous progression from large to small, leading us off the side of the frame. BUT WAIT!  Look at that sky…it’s almost like a bonus in this image. Just when you thought you were surrounded by color, you look up and there’s much , much more. The sky is epic, with a gradient of color that says late, or early light, magic hour either way. There is also a wonderful color symmetry with the red in the sky and the red clothes. Love it!

Third Place: “Into the Tunnel” By Danny Vangenechten, Meerhout, Antwerpen, Belgium

What David had to say: For the subject “Color” I couldn’t resist this piece. The symmetry of color, real and reflected, is cut into by these two human figures which provides us an excellent sense of scale. They are heading toward the center of the forced perspective, sucking us in too. Awesome use of color.

Honorable Mentions: (David just couldn’t resist!)

“ToolShed, Fir Island, Washington” by Edward Mchugh, Conway, WA, USA


“Drop – Colorful World” by Melahat Kizil, Izmir, Turkey

“Blue” By Apurva Madia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Thank you to everyone who entered!

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