Peter PereiraThe Standard-Times
James M. PattersonValley News
Judges: Peggy Peattie/San Diego Union-Tribune, David Poller/San Diego Union-Tribune, Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune, Misael Virgen/San Diego Union-Tribune, Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune, Alma Cesena/San Diego Union-Tribune, David Brooks/San Diego Union-Tribune, John McCutchen/San Diego Union-Tribune, Luis Cruz/San Diego Union-Tribune
We know people are going to be shocked by our choices, so we hope our comments will reveal we took the judging quite seriously. A multiple picture entry must tell a story. Each photo needs to tell something different, yet relate to the others. Home Hospice told a story, showed the emotion involved and the difficulty of the choices the daughter had to make. The artist, in "print" (2nd place), was tight, just the essentials, not much of a story, but the photographer showed us 4 photos that told us who the artist is and what they achieve. Not much personality, but here, the tight edit was rewarded. We cringed over the obvious time spent with the "Pine Tree" community. Clearly the photographer visited the community over the course of several months and spent a lot of time gathering moments that show people moving and going to meetings about housing. We read the captions over and over and couldn't figure out what the story is. Are these people all being forced to move? Only some of them? Is it about the high cost of housing in certain areas and not others? There's no central character; that might have made it easier to tell whatever the story is, rather than this fairly nice smattering of scattered single images. Having an editor look at them occasionally and ask what the focus of the story is, might have helped it along the way. The medical mission to Uganda piece was the kind of assignment we all hope to have drop in our laps. Unfortunately this photographer seems to have been terrified of the people in Uganda. We never meet them in the photos. We see them on the lawn, looking down from the second floor of a building, we see them from behind as they go into a home we don't get to visit, we get to watch the white visiting doctors watching them being examined, however the patient is out of focus. I'll admit, I was offended by that photo; that the Africans aren't worthy of being in focus. And yet, if we're there to see the visiting doctors administer care, in 16 photos we only see the lead doctor actually touch a patient twice and it's very superficial. The tailor story had lots of potential, but the tailor didn't get many visitors on his last day, not many moments there. The Mudfest had lots of potential.... we think the photographer wasn't sure what the story was, so there's no real focus. Horse therapy girl "learn" was a good idea that needed us to get more intimate with the girl's personality. We have lots of verbs: her doing things, but who is she? That hug at the lockers comes close; kind of like the story needs to start there, and move into the future. Might bear revisiting?