Judging a photo contest is hard work. So why do creative directors, art producers, gallery directors and photo editors to do it? One benefit is that they get to see fresh imagery—lots more imagery than just the final winners. To win a juried competition like the PDN Photo Annual, an entry has to garner high scores from multiple jurors. But sometimes work that one or two judges love doesn’t score high enough with other jurors to place among the finalists.
We gave some jurors of the PDN Photo Annual the opportunity to talk about one entry that they particularly liked and remembered, but didn’t make it into the Annual. Here are their choices:
Myles Little, associate photo editor, TIME:
I choose Antonio Gonzalez Caro’s project about fishermen. His is a highly personal vision of a subject I’ve seen covered a lot, often in more conventional ways. Without romanticizing this hard life, Caro draws the viewer into a place of dark beauty. The images of the man bellowing, and of the hand near the school of fish, make me feel like I’m peering into an old fisherman’s dream.
Darhil Crooks, creative director, The Atlantic:
I pick “Dangerous Candy” by Adam Voorhes. There is so much I love about this image. The sharpness of the lighting and shadows is beautifully done and the background color gives the image a happy vibe. You don’t even notice the packs of nicotine-laced “Camel Strips” at first. But what I admire the most about this shot is the precision. The angles are perfect, the distribution of the M&Ms and the tear of the wrapper were clearly thought out and styled. It’s not only a brilliant idea, but the execution is brilliant as well.
Raquel Duarte, senior print producer, LLOYD & CO:
Eden Robbins did a phenomenal job with the “Mom’s Demand Action” campaign. I gave him a 5 rating but unfortunately he did not win the PDN annual contest recognition that I find he deserved. It’s a simple campaign that is extremely powerful. The content is what got me immediately. It is clever, raw, based on statistics, fueled by truth. Given all the political controversy around guns and weapons and the unfortunate turns of events we have had in the recent years, it is repulsive that our government has “their hands tied” to take any action and vetoed any proactive measures that could been taken to prevent the harming of any further innocent lives… [t]he children who will grow to be our future.
On a creative note, the casting is remarkable. The mix of ethnicity, gender, facial expressions, are well represented. The unfocused and monochromatic backgrounds are perfect, simply there adding mood and atmosphere, but yet very specifically detailed. The objects the children are holding are nostalgic, relatable, reminding me of the joy and fun I had growing up, followed by an uncomfortable feeling that shatters my happy memories, because those items are banned, while guns are not.
Grey’s creative direction was brilliant. Eden’s execution was ingenious.
Brian Paul Clamp, owner and director, Clampart Gallery:
Who has not been curious about “Missed Connections” on Craigslist? Andrew Goeser’s student project endeavors to see the real people behind the ads. Contacting those individuals who place these ads, the artist shot them at the site of the “missed connection” and then paired the photograph with the original post. I find the concept of the project compelling, and the hypothetical relationships at turns funny, romantic, poignant, and sometimes even pathetic. I can imagine this series expanded and presented/published as a book.
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