National – October 2019 – Portrait/Illustration

Judges Comments

The portrait of the transgender woman recovering from the attempt on her life was a completely powerful and arresting image – highlighting the ongoing social problem of hate crime, which so highly victimizes the transgender population, and possibly work to motivate viewers toward empathic responses. An easy choice for first, as a powerful image and important topic. The appropriately haunting portrait from the Haunted Forest (Utah) was pristine in composition, color content and mood. In second place it, too, was a clear standout. The third place Ontario cross country runner in the cow pasture was simple and well managed – although we wondered if her pose and positioning could have been better. Other standouts included the curator of Auburn Public Theater's B Movie Horror Film series in Auburn, N.Y. – but the judges were split between amusement of the campy approach being a fun approach – or the ham-acting there being just a bit too much. Other noteworthy images included the goth woman applying makeup in Pittsburgh, the simple portrait of John Middleton, managing partner of the Philadelphia Phillies at their press conference and the respectful portrait of the homeless woman under the highway. Subjects with hands-on-hips, or crossed arms, or forced-looking back-to-back, as well as other cliché poses were over-represented in the entries. Photographers are encouraged to look for “new body language” and push past the tried-and-true (or cliché) approaches.

Judges: Dr. Martin Smith-Rodden/Ball State University, Dr. Kevin Moloney/Ball State University, Grace Hollars/The Indianapolis Star, Ryan Sparrow/Ball State University