Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch as much POYi judging this year as I would have hoped, but what I was able to see was rewarding. One of the categories I took the most out of was the Feature Picture Story category. Most of the really good commentary from the judges happens during the final rounds of the judging, and for this category that was during the final 10. Maybe it’s the fact that I love editing so much but I really understood where these judges were coming from. One of the stories in particular from this category that stood out to me was the first place winner: Damon Winter’s “Where Steel Meets Sky.” In these photo competitions you can see the same story entered over and over but this is one I was surprised, and happy to see. With incredible access, Winter gives an amazing account at what it is like for the workers building the new World Trade Center tower. During the final looks at this story there were some interesting things said by judges. Patricia Lanza made the argument tat there wasn’t any interaction in the story. Michel duCille came back with an obvious answer of “well of course not it’s hard to do that up there” and that that doesn’t take away from the story at all for him. But really thinking about it, I think the story could benefit from some sort of interaction. Maybe as they are going down to the ground, some sort of transitional, interaction would work? It could only benefit the story. One element of the story that drew me in immediately was the portraits Winter was able to capture.
This one in particular, has so much emotion. Combined with the light and the composition, it makes it one of my favorite photos of the story.
This story reminds me of Charles C. Ebbets work of the construction workers on top of Rockefeller Center. but more intimate. Winter wasn’t afraid to get closer, and with the variety of moments he got, whether the subject stood alone or not, he was extremely successful.
Towards the end of the category judging the judges offered some great insight to those sitting in the room about making picture stories. They went back and forth on what was the most important element of the story: the content or the strength of images. Michael made his argument that the strength of the images is what’s most important. In this iron workers story, it rose above for him because he is taken somewhere he’s never seen before and shown in an emotional way. He doesn’t like it just for the storyline, which is how he felt about Tom Fox’s ‘Zach’s Journey’ about a blind child in this category. Judge MaryAnne Golon also commented on the pacing of this iron workers story, as well as its “monumental scale.” She put this story in first place because of that, and the surprises it offered, where other stories didn’t. Through this round of judging we were not only able to see what makes a good picture story but what makes a picture story rise above the rest. The winning story combined with the judges commentary was not only extremely beneficial to me as a student in Picture Story, but for my work in general.