|Photo Contest 2006 Judges
15th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Norbert von der Groeben
Norbert von der Groeben joined the staff of the Palo Alto Weekly as chief photographer in July 2003. Prior to working at the Weekly, Norbert spent 17 years as a staff photographer at a daily newspaper, the Contra Costa Times. Norbert earned a bachelor's of art degree from Long Beach State University and majored in visual communications. In addition to his photos being published by the Palo Alto Weekly and the Contra Costa Times in the last two decades, his pictures have appeared in such magazines as People, Business Week and Vanity Fair. Norbert has also published a children's book, "Fire Station Number 4." Author Mary T. Fortney wrote the text and Norbert provided the photos.
The judges noted that although there were fewer entries in this category than in previous years, the quality of the photographs submitted was very strong.
For us, Patricia McClung's "Waiting for the Train" was definitely the strongest image and easily deserving of first place in the "Manipulated Images" category. I remember McClung's photo grabbing my attention right from the start. The photo had a wonderful composition, and the information on the back of the print detailing how the photo was put together with 90 layers
Ken Van Bree "Winter's Ghost" was another very strong image in this category. We awarded it second place because the photo's rather mystical feel appealed to us.
The placement of the butterfly in third-place winner Dotti Cichon's photo made the image a winning entry. Cichon's "Pipevine Swallowfall" struck a blow for ingenuity with its composition and made the entry even more impressive."
-Norbert von der Groeben
For me, this year's winning photos had to say "grab me" when the judges first looked at the entries in the different categories. For example, Nancy Wong's entry, "Couple-Leisurely Break," was just a wonderful photo of two people taking a coffee break. The photo had a great sense of mood to it. The boy's face in "Lord of the Menlo Park Flies," by Chris Holmes, was very sweet, and the photo managed to capture a wonderful moment. The shadow on the wall in Deyola Adekunle's "Camille" gave the photo the edge it needed to win third place.
Brigitte Carnochan (a 1993 PA Weekly Photo Contest winner) is both a fine art and documentary style photographer. She has published and exhibited nationally and internationally. She teaches hand painting, exhibition and photography project workshops regularly through the Stanford Continuing Studies program and serves on the board of the Santa Fe Center for Photography.
Views Beyond The Peninsula
Each of our winners in this category compounds emotional and aesthetic impact with a subtle grace. The play of light and shadow, reflections, echoing forms, dramatic spaces, and lyrical lines are all beautifully captured. These views from beyond the peninsula all suggest a story waiting to be told: What are those fluid forms with mysterious reflected windows? Who will get into the boat and where will they row? Is the landscape a view from a tent? Has the bicyclist paused for romance or groceries? The observer will want to pause and reflect.
Fine art photographer David Hibbard traces his career back to age 7 when on a family vacation he attempted to record the magnificent Big Sur coast with a Brownie camera. Encouragement, first from Ansel Adams then later from Marion Patterson helped David find his way as a photographic artist. The forest, coastal, and wetland environments of the Bay Area (places he has explored with great care and patience) are an ongoing focus of his work. His photography has won many local awards (including previous Palo Alto Weekly contests). David frequently exhibits his work and teaches workshops on the art of photography. A sampling of David's recent work can be seen at www.davidhibbard.com.
1st Place - "Half Moon Bay Pumpkins" by Dawn Soriano. Everything coheres so beautifully together in this picture: the direct, stately composition; the orderly arrangement of the pumpkins and gourds on the stairs; the soft pastel colors; and the muted contrast between warmth (the pumpkins) and coolness (the blue wall behind). We naturally want to know why the pumpkins are there. The photograph cannot tell us; instead, it testifies - beautifully - to their presence.
2nd Place - "At the Beach" by Paige K. Parsons. The spontaneity and playfulness of this image caught my eye. I love how the photographer uses backlighting to render the bodies of the children as semi-abstract pixie-like forms, frolicking along the edge of the surf. For me, the charm of this picture lies in how one child crouches in anticipation of the next wave while, simultaneously, his companion dances away from it. The lighting and an eye for exactly the right moment are what make this picture work.
3rd Place -"Baylands Path" by Nancy Wong. This is a moody, elegant image, beautifully composed and printed. The predominance of dark tones make what would otherwise be an ordinary grove of trees seem mysterious. I like how the bright areas in the distance give just enough of a hint as to what lies beyond as we linger in the grove of trees.
Honorable Mention - "Railing" by Rick Stultz. This is a strong composition, beautifully composed. I like how the bold, curved lines lead the eye into the heart of the image, inviting us to explore it more closely. It's hard to get abstract compositions exactly right. This one has a good balance of light and dark tones, and just enough color to provide emphasis but not overwhelm the picture. A precise camera position was critical here: to be a few inches off in any direction would render the many lines and shapes as a confused jumble.
Joseph Quever was born and raised in Palo Alto. He attended Cubberley High School, and studied photography at the UC Santa Cruz. He began his professional career producing album covers for Columbia Records, and assisting noted Bay Area photographer George Fry. He opened his own commercial photography studio in downtown Palo Alto in 1989, utilizing medium and large format cameras, and his work has been displayed across California. Many of the photographs produced for his clients (mostly advertising, catalog and corporate) have won design awards recognized in their respective industries. He has relocated to Mountain View.
Youth 16 and Under
Once again this year, there was very nice work in all of the categories. I am particularly moved by the youth category. The thought process and imagination involved in producing these pictures is wonderful. Taking chances - ultimately, this is what allows us all to grow creatively. From the engaging portraits, to the strong use of graphic elements, to the non-traditional use of the cameras frame - they all help tell stories and capture the "moments" that make photography such a powerful medium. I look forward to seeing next year's work!
- Joe Quever
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