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Meet the November judge: Mark Ostow

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  December 17, 2010 09:16 AM

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Mark Ostow

Last month I went all the way to Malaysia (not physically, unfortunately) to find a great judge, Steve Chong, for our October "Purple Power" competition. This month, I stayed home and found the perfect judge for the November bokeh contest right in Cambridge: Mark Ostow.

Mark's specialty is black & white portraits, and he often uses a very shallow depth of field that yields a nice background bokeh effect. When you visit his website, you'll be struck by the variety and renown - and sometimes ordinariness - of the people he has photographed: Film director Errol Morris, former British prime minister Tony Blair, a Rwanda genocide survivor, a midwife.

Mark holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and photography, and has been a commercial photographer for 18 years. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and other publications.

He teaches photo workshops at Germaine Lawrence Academy in Arlington and the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans in downtown Boston. He also runs an annual photo workshop for teens.


Yet even while juggling his thriving commercial photo business and philanthropy, Mark has managed to open two restaurants. Cafe Zing!, inside Porter Square Books in the Porter Square Shopping Center in Cambridge, serves baked goods from local bakeries as well as fair-trade coffee, organic loose-leaf tea, and more. Zing! Pizza, which prides itself on its organic ingredients, is nearby at 1923 Mass. Ave., two doors north of the shopping center.

Stop in sometime; maybe you'll get to meet the owner. In fact, this month, all of the Top 10 winners will get $15 gift cards to Zing! Pizza (in addition to the $100, $50, and $25 prizes for First, Second, and Third). If you don't live near Boston, and don't have any friends or relatives around here who could use the card, then we'll work something out.

So Mark is working his way through your entries, and as soon as he sends me his Final 50 choices, we'll get them posted for you, followed a day or so later by his Top 10.

Meanwhile, our December "Photo Titles" contest is going strong.

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