VNPA 2nd Q. Clip Contest

Judged by Geoff Hansen, Sarah Priestap and Kristen Zeis at the Valley News, Lebanon, N.H.

Thank you for asking us to judge your contest! We love to see what photojournalists are up to from other parts of the country. It inspires us in our daily work. Here are the winners, with notes from our discussion:

FEATURE – A very interesting category with a reasonable number of entries. We appreciated it wasn’t clogged with tons of “wild art,” something we commonly find when judging.

1.) Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times

We loved that the photographer found a feature that goes beyond the surface, with the opportunity to be a deeper story. Community journalism is being out in the community, finding stories to tell even if it’s just one photo. The well-written caption speaks to this as well.

2.) Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press

This photo looks at the less-than-obvious moment in this situation, something that speaks more to the truth to the moment, than the expected.

3.) Autumn Parry/The News & Advance

While the super wide angle doesn’t add to the photo at all, we were still drawn to the expression and the moment of this photograph.

NEWS – The winners in this category were rewarded for being there and ready for the moment. We were disappointed to see entries from mock events like disaster drills

1.) Jill Nance/The News & Advance

This frame is successful due to the fullness of the frame – it’s a many-layered image. There’s good, real emotion, and questions that make you want to read the caption and the story. It is evident the photographer was right in the middle of this frame, and that feeling only adds to the image.

2.) Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press

This is a strong image, both for the light, the moment, and the composition. This photo would have been a first place contender, if not for the caption, which fails to give context to the greater event at hand. What ties the subject to the event?

3.) Rob Ostermaier/ Daily Press

While the caption for this photo isn’t strong, the symbolism, access, and composition of this photo contribute to its success.

PORTRAIT – A fun category to judge, because we discussed what is an effective portrait? Sitting for the photographer, or documenting the subject as they go about their lives?

1.) Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press

A successful portrait should reveal something about its subject, and this photo absolutely does that. The caption adds to the portrait as well, giving it further context. The image isn’t technically perfect, but the moment is what propelled the image to first.

2.) Griffin Moores/The News Leader

A graphically-interesting, well-seen photo!

3.) Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press

An interesting portrait, definitely would have been stronger without the uber wide-angle lens.

SPORTS – While there were a lot of strong action and reaction photos that reflected fierce competition in this category, we also wanted to see entries that showed what’s happening away from the diamond or playing field.

1.) Griffin Moores/The News Leader

The color, composition, and moment of this photo make it an incredibly effective photo. It’s a strong image that was our first pick from the beginning.

2.) Rob Ostermaier/Daily Press

The fabulous moment is helped by good lens choice and composition.

3.) Autumn Parry/The News & Advance

A good, decisive moment that asks the question, “What will happen next?”

Honorable mention – Mike Morones/Military Times

An interesting subject that could’ve been improved with better, cleaner composition.

MULTIPLE – Only five entries in this category. We feel fortunate to have a weekly photo page at our newspaper. While it can be a struggle to maintain momentum, editors and publishers should know readers love to look at lots of photos!

1.) Jill Nance/The News & Advance

The visual craftsmanship is what drove this package to first place. While there isn’t much of a narrative here, it’s a solid photo page with some beautiful imagery with excellent composition.

2.) Jay Diem/Eastern Shore News

This is a great find, both the subject and the events around her and her truck are interesting. This could’ve been a first place contender with a tighter edit, as some of the repetitive photos weakened the story, and with some better composition of photos (and less ultra wide-angle photos).

3.) Jill Nance/The News & Advance

While there’s a good sense of place in this story, as well as an interesting subject, it could’ve been a stronger story with more focus (i.e., following the same student or group of friends through the event of the closing.)

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