Jeffrey D. AllredDeseret News
August FrankGillette News Record
RJ SangostiThe Denver Post
First place is a collection of images concerning dementia and a program which helps protect those who may wander. The photographer stuck with one patient to tell the story (good choice). A nice group of pictures, but the captions, although complete, could probably have been written to give a little more information about the woman featured in the pictures. Personalize her a bit more. Second place is a solid group of images loaded with moments from a Special Olympics competition. We felt for the photographer who had to deal with an abundance of mixed/weird lighting situations. Thought the piece might have worked better in black & white to alleviate that issue. As always, some images could have been culled to make it stronger. Third place of a photographers personal vision of opening day at a major league ball game had mixed reviews. We absolutely loved a couple of the images, but were left scratching our heads on a couple of them, too. Interesting way to handle a story like this without really showing any baseball (OK, one picture showed a picture of a player taking about 1-percent of the frame). Quick commentary on picture essays and stories (and not just in this region). It is apparent the reduction or elimination of picture editors is hurting the ability of publications to produce solid stories. Photographers are forced to edit their own work often without input from not even one extra set of eyes. This isn't going to change... sadly. So, in order to improve in this area, photographers are going to have to take the initiative to learn how to edit better. There is no perfect answer for achieving this, but we'd suggest a few different options. Hit up a workshop if you can. They cost money, but they're a good investment in your future. Papers rarely want to pick up the tab for these nowadays, but some still do. Try to sell the idea to them and you may be surprised. Also, the NPPA has the mentorship program. This isn't just for newbies. It's for all of us. And it won't cost a dime. Instead of looking for a photographer-only mentor, look for one more oriented towards editing. If organized mentorships aren't your thing, just find a picture editor you admire and drop 'em a line. There are some great storytellers out there and I would bet they'd be more than willing to help you out. Lastly, follow a couple of simple rules... don't be redundant... less is generally more... have a reason to include a picture (it can't just be a cool picture... it's gotta fit the narrative). Good luck.
Judges: Denny Simmons/Courier & Press, Mike Lawrence/Courier & Press, MaCabe Brown/Courier & Press, Sam Owens/Courier & Press