Unless, of course, you win. So, for the second year in a row, they are shallow and meaningless. Back in 2008, the judges for the Maine Press Association photo contest were right on and the contest accurately showed who the best photojournalist was in the state. The past two, not so much. Sour grapes from a loser, yep. Seriously though, I thought the Sun Journal had some great entries, and only Amber won a first place this year, but that’s how contests go. Some years I can’t believe how my photos have topped some of the others that were entered. The same entries can be given to a different set of judges and the results far different. Subjective, yes. So while I am disappointed, I don’t give it much thought. I have a drawer full of first place certificates and medals. I feel that my work is as good as it has ever been and while I may not have had any photos of criminals jumping off buildings that win me prizes this year, my photos on a daily basis are creative, emotional and striking. A lot of my effort this and last year have gone toward video too. But this year had to be the worst year for us, photography wise, since we started entering the contest in earnest. However, the news and sports reporters, and design, cleaned house. Many years it has been the photo department winning the bulk of the awards, so it was bound to happen that we had a bad year. Lucky news and sports picked up the hardware. The one saving grace was the judges comments on how strong our photography was when they chose the Sun Journal to be the best newspaper in the state. That is the big kahuna when it comes to the contest. Everyone covets that award. In addition, we were also awarded second in the weekend category. Most importantly, to me, we won best website. Pattie Reaves has done an outstanding job redesigning and updating it, and it showed. I have concentrated on video for the past few years, spending more time shooting video than stills. I post to the website whenever I have breaking news and create numerous photo galleries as well as post several photos from almost every assignment, not just one or two for the print edition. So, I am happy for everyone who won, and while I am a little disappointed that me, Daryn and Jose did not win anything, I feel we do good work on a daily basis and am proud to be on the staff of the Sun Journal.
Sprinkled through this post are photos I took on Saturday at Mast Landing Sanctuary and Winslow Park in Freeport. The Maine Press Association workshops and banquet were held at the Hilton in Freeport Saturday. I was one of the panel members during a video workshop in the morning. Organized by fellow journalist, musician, board member and all around fun guy, Troy Bennett, Gabe Souza of the Portland Press Herald showed some of our videos and answered questions about this new media that may be part of what helps keep our newspapers alive in this digital age.
After the workshop, I took a nap in the parking lot of the park and then shot some photos. It was a day off for me, but I just can’t put my camera down.