Every year around this time, our world turns black and white.
As stacks of images build up in our office for the annual Boise Weekly Black and White Photo Contest, we are all reminded of the raw power of a simple image. Through the eyes of a skilled photographer, just about anything can induce an emotional response in the viewer, whether it's the thoughtful look on a child's face, the raw beauty of nature or the whimsical patterns of an urban landscape.
This year's batch of 124 entries took the judges on journeys to the far corners of the world, exploring exotic cultures and locales. It took them to the hidden corners of our city, offering new and creative takes on the ordinary. It brought them glimpses of everyday life, opening a window on the lives of others.
Each of the images reminded us just how many stunningly talented photographers make their homes in the Treasure Valley.
The panel of five judges had their work cut out for them as they pored over the many entries in all three categories: People, Places and Things. Images were judged on composition, creativity, execution and subject matter, and the names of the photographers were not known until after the competition.
After much deliberation, a few threats and a whole lot of hemming and hawing, the judges selected the top three winners in each category, as well as a handful of honorable mentions (allowing the judges to recognize some of their personal favorites). The grand prize winner was selected from the first-place entries in all three categories and the prize money divided among all the winners.
In addition to a couple of Boise Weekly staff members, we recruited three professional judges to help in the deliberations.
Returning this year was Craig Clark. He has been working as a professional photographer for more than 20 years and is the owner of CC Photography and Digital Design. He's graced BW with his expertise for years, giving the contest a hefty dose of institutional memory.
Making a return to the judging panel was Paul Hosefros, a 36-year veteran photographer with The New York Times. Hosefros spent years in Washington, D.C., covering the White House and federal government. He photographed numerous presidents, and even traveled with President Bill Clinton and later with President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. During his long career, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Now settled in the Treasure Valley, Hosefros is busy working on numerous projects, including a book about Idaho wine country set to be released next year through Caxton Press.
Finally, this year's fresh-faced judge was Laurie Pearman, whose own work can often be found gracing the pages of Boise Weekly. In fact, judging the contest meant coming full circle for Pearman, who won first place in the Places category in 2006 and honorable mentions for Places and People in 2007. It was her 2006 win that inspired her to drop out of Boise State and head to art school to study photography. Now, with her degree in hand, Pearman is sharing her experience with other area photographers.
Who knows what this year's contest might inspire.
Photographers can reclaim their work at the Boise Weekly office, 523 Broad St., any time before Friday, July 24.GRAND PRIZE + FIRST PLACE, THINGS Mark Hardy $275 THINGS SECOND PLACE, THINGS Steven Wilson $70 THIRD PLACE, THINGS Roger Manwaring $35 PEOPLE FIRST PLACE, PEOPLE Matt Cook $90 SECOND PLACE, PEOPLE Matt Cook $70 THIRD PLACE, PEOPLE Amelia Trull $35 PLACES FIRST PLACE, PLACES Tarey P. $90 SECOND PLACE, PLACES Conrad Garner $70 THIRD PLACE, PLACES Wayne Richey $35 HONORABLE MENTIONS Justin Howells Melanie Flitton Folwell Justin Howells Michael Margules Leslie Spencer Stacie Runyon