Judges:  Maureen Stewart, Art Director, Airman Magazine; Clayton Filipowicz, Director of Social Media, Airman Magazine; Jeff Allen, Operations Chief, Air Force Media



1st: Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
2nd: Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
3rd: Matt McClain, The Washington Post

Comments: Chosen for immediate visual impact and emotion for each story. Each photo placed the viewer there, in the thick of it, which allows you to draw the reader further into the story.

The decision between first and second was difficult. The image of the officer kneeling struck me because it was such a raw moment. It shows the brotherhood of the police officers, the toll the job has put on the man kneeling, and it communicated to me that something heart-wrenching just happened.


1st : Earl Neikirk, Bristol Herald-Courier
2nd: Rob Ostermeier, The Daily Press
3rd: Jay Westcott, The News & Advance


Not your typical sports photos-these each offered a unique perspective , in my opinion. All of them offer some beautiful contrast.

First place was the clear winner to me. When I think of swimming, I don’t typically think of it as a team-based sport. But this image shows that the team’s support is just as important as the athlete competing. Wonderful job capturing the moment. Second place captured the intensity and focus of the football players. I like it because it is very true to the game of football. It’s not about looking pretty, it’s about doing everything you can to make the catch (silly faces and all). Third place is a very beautiful photo. Great eye and dedication to get up early and get the photo. Worthy of the top 3.


1st : Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
2nd: Earl Neikirk, Bristol Herald-Courier
3rd: Matt McClain, The Washington Post


I really loved that each of these made me want to either learn more or be there.

First place very strong. It’s an interesting perspective, uncontrolled action, beautiful colors, and a technically sound photo. Beautifully done. First and second were very difficult to decide. I love the simplicity of this photo. The light coming through the door in contrast with the Spiderman outfit made me do a double take for sure. Very nice image. Third place was a very interesting photo. The composition made me want to lok closer to explore what it is that the workers do for a living. Very deserving of top 3.


1st : Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
2nd:  Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
3rd: Jay Westcott, The News & Advance


All of these were visually stunning and shot so well. Great light, composition and use of negative space. The tunnel man placed first because it showed his personality the best. His sense of style paired with the crossed arms convey attitude. But the colorful tunnel really brings it home. LOVE IT. Third and Second place were very, very close. The violinists were beautifully composed in the photo, well done. Really draws your attention in. Third place was a very sound photograph that shows he is a talented athlete. Both photos are very literal in that it shows objects to convey what they enjoy. However, I’d like to see personality as well, which is what the first place photo did really well.


1st : Matt McClain, The Washington Post
2nd: Aileen Devlin, The Daily Press
3rd: Matt McClain, The Washington Post


Great series’ with intimate looks inside to the subjects lives.

The rodeo has a solid diversity of images. Could tell you were thinking outside the box on some of the shots. You have a lot of strong images but more importantly, you had a coherent story that was easy to piece together through photos. Oher submissions also had good images sprinkled throughout, but were lacking story. Second place had some phenomenal photos throughout, but it was all over the place without any context.


1st : 03 2017 Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
2nd: Lathan Goumas, The News & Advance
3rd: Aileen Devlin, The Daily Press


Each of these were emotional and really gave me a look at the people behind the story. Lots of fundamental issues here though (technically) especially with audio and pacing. This was across all entries.