Keys, wallets, iPods, iPhones, lipstick, cell phones, money, watches, credit cards, Chap Stick, insulin pumps, combs, pill boxes, hand sanitizer, pacifiers, receipts, hair clips, tweezers, glasses, lozenges, gum, diapers, toys, paper clips, inhalers, losing lottery tickets -- and of course, camera equipment -- clutter up the pockets and pocketbooks of the RAW amateur photographers who entered our March "The Items We Carry" contest.
As is our usual practice, we'll post these initial galleries so you all can check to make sure that your photo made it into the contest. If you don't see it in one of these galleries, first check Flickr, searching by the contest tags. Here's the direct link.
If you don't see your photo on that Flickr search page, make sure that
a) Your tags are correct: Boston.com, contest, March2010, ItemsWeCarry
b) Your photos aren't hidden from Flickr's search. Uncheck all the boxes.
If you can't figure out why your photo isn't in our galleries or showing up in the Flickr contest tags search, then send me a link to your photo to email@example.com.
We'll give everyone until EOD Monday (April 5) to get their photo situation straightened out before we start the judging.
A note: I am disqualifying all of the gun photos for a simple reason: According to the conversation that took place on the Northeastshooters.com discussion forum, most of the gun photos were not submitted as works of art to win the contest, but rather as political statements to drive an agenda.
That, combined with the nasty language and name-calling directed at our RAW regulars on that NES forum, has led me to eliminate those photos from contention.
The purpose of the campaign was evident with the very first post on that thread: "Let's flood them with guns…LOL."
Other commenters urged their fellow gun owners to submit, regardless of the quality of the photo. One wrote, "You guys are working that contest like a cheap ----- at a convention. It's always fun to see a good plan come together."
Some posters admitted that they threw items together quickly and snapped any shot just to get it in the contest.
But most disheartening was the vile language on the NES forum directed at our RAW regulars who posted comments here wondering about or objecting to the flood of gun photos.
Our participants were called sheeple, idiots, eurotrash, moonbats, scum, vile, repugnant, brainwashed, a waste of oxygen and food, scumsucking bastards, pussbags, pig dogs, bleaters, howling crazy fools, SOBs, and a few other obscene names I can't print here. And all this time I thought our folks were pretty nice.
Despite this nastiness, precious few posters on the NES forum denounced it. Most of the NES posters didn't care that insults were being hurled our way. All they really cared about was that a backlash would develop that would lead to their comments or photos being deleted. Several posters referred to "acting polite" and being "on your best behavior" – in other words: Pretend to be nice to them so they won't take away our gun photos.
"The more level-headed we are in our posts the more freaked out the anti's become."
"Keep it civil, otherwise it works to the anti's favor. I tried to be nice in my post too."
"Play them like a Stradivarius, beat them at their own game."
I realize that this disqualification may catch some legitimate photographers in its net, and I'm sorry for that. At least one NES poster has entered our contests before, and others who discovered RAW for the first time during this contest said they’ll keep coming back. (Although maybe not now.) But that's what happens in situations like this. And as one who has enjoyed taking target practice at a shooting range, it's a shame that objects that could make really interesting photo subjects because of the complexity of their construction and the quality of their materials won't be in the contest because this group of gun owners just wanted to manipulate RAW.
For the sake of all the amateur photographers who post here, I can't let that happen. I won't let that happen.
So here are the galleries of your entries in this month's competition:
Tomorrow I'll give you more information about this month's judge and the judging process, and at noon today I'll announce April's theme. Thanks, everybody.