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September 'Jobs' contest Top 25

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  October 15, 2009 12:23 PM

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September contest judge Glen Cooper, a photojournalist and photography teacher, finished his review of your entries last night and has culled the field to the Top 25 finalists. But first, he had some interesting comments about the field of photos:

By Glen Cooper

First thing I'll say is that overall, there were some really well thought-out photographs. On the subject of the contest rules and parameters, I assumed that all pictures of people painting or making art were earning a living at their craft, and all people carrying things, etc. were movers of some sort.

Picturing people, especially in their work environment, is difficult, but many of the finalists found ways to isolate their subject and give the viewer a place to look in the photo. This is very important when the main subject is in a busy background. Some of the ways that I saw people solve this problem was to use shallow depth of field, motion blur, silhouettes, or just simply follow the light.

Photos showing the backs of people's heads should be avoided whenever possible. Sometimes this is difficult, but if it can't be avoided, then the supporting background must really sell the viewer on the subject of the photo. I'd suggest moving closer to the subject when possible to bring the viewer into that person's work world. Also crop out extraneous parts of the photo that will not add to the overall picture.

It is always better to crop in the camera, and many times this means moving your feet. For example, the cranberry shot of the man riding the machine in the bog might have a different feel if the photographer had eliminated the top edge of green grass from his final photo.


Watch the edges and corners of your frame while looking in the viewfinder. We have a tendency to bull's-eye the subject and forget to look around the entire frame. Stay in the camera!

Lots of almost shots here. For instance, the three men working on the sidewalk with the box truck in the street had a great composition with the men's bodies continuing the curve of the newly constructed curb; unfortunately, the main focus was on the very distracting orange cone in the foreground, making all that great composition harder for the viewer to enjoy.

Sidewalk Confusion

My best advice, and I tell my students this all the time, is to work the photo. Don't just take snapshots; rather, create pictures. Photograph the verb (the doing), especially with people at work. Make me care what they do or appreciate the difficulty of their job. Bring the viewer into the world of your subject.

Gallery of the Top 25 finalists

We'll post the Voting Machine later today. Meanwhile, here's a look back at all of the entries:

Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3 | Gallery 4 | Gallery 5

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