This Year at CPOY

Having been able to attend and participate
in CPOY for the past few years, I really enjoyed this year and getting to
continue seeing more and more of the contest from behind. I think that as I
work more and more as an editor and as a photographer I have a better time
watching the images go through and seeing what I really really like and what I
don’t and how that compares to the judges. I think when I first started
watching, everything looked beautiful and powerful and inspiring and while
there are so so many incredible images still, my experience even from the past
year alone has changed the way I look at the stills and stories that pass

I really
enjoyed the sports sections and find it interesting how featury even the sports
action images tend to end up. The documentary section was valuable in just
seeing so many different packages of work and how sequencing and pacing and
framing was done - good and bad. 

It always
fascinates me to see the differences in the documentary stories. Some entries
are no doubt without question centered on the push-button topic of the year or
the most recent or most horrifying disaster that has struck. Yet others are the
simple yet beautiful picture stories about everyday people living everyday
lives. I at some point was around for a discussion with the judges (when
exactly I honestly have no idea) when they were considering the difference
between push-bottom and top-name issues stories compared to the everyday story.
I think in comparing the story on the genocide in Burma with the
‘where I’m from story’ that included the controversial snow photo. Both were
beautifully shot but there seemed to be a draw to the Burmese story. Why? The
judges couldn’t say whether it was because of superior storytelling and
photographic quality or because of the nameliness and intensity of the subject
versus a quiet and less talked about topic. They went back and forth about
which it was and to be honest I don’t think that they really universally
reached a consensus as a group nor did some of them really have an answer for
sure in their own heads.

This was one of the discussions that really
stood out in my mind from the week because it is something I toy with in my
head fairly often. I know that I need to start shooting more topics heavy
pieces and that part of picking stories is picking the stories that matter
most. But I naturally gravitate towards the everyday mans story. I like to see
what normal people are doing in their very normal lives and maybe there is a
twist of maybe not but I really enjoy working on everyday workers and people and
their stories. Because of this tie and the just the general depth of the
discussion I really remember this conversation a lot.

I also can say on the note of the judges
being well spoken and having strong discussion, I really thought that this year
more than any other year the judges were both exceptionally well spoken and very
articulate, but also the most willing and enthusiastic about talking to
students and visitors. I wasn’t able to be around for much of the multimedia judging
but the still judges were hands down some of my favorite to work for thus far
this year and so I really appreciated that and was excited by their energy. 

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