16th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Brigitte Carnochan's painted gelatin silver photographs have been exhibited at galleries and museums nationally and internationally. A book of her images, "Bella Figura: Painted Photographs by Brigitte Carnochan," containing 74 color plates of her work was published by Modernbook Editions in July 2006. A second, limited-edition monograph with 11 gelatin silver photographs, "The Shining Path," was published by 21st Publications, also in 2006. Carnochan's work has recently been featured on the cover of Camera Arts and in View Camera magazine. She regularly teaches a sequence of photography classes through the Stanford Continuing Studies program and serves on the board of the Santa Fe Center for Photography and the Committee for Art of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
As always, the Peninsula Images category attracted a large group of talented photographers -- proving, if proof were needed, that we live in a part of the world that is rich in beautiful, surprising, haunting, compelling images. Although we had no theme in mind in making our selections, each of these images emphasizes the timeless and suggests a nostalgia, perhaps, for a more serene, more secure time: a quiet evening outside the Caffe Trieste in North Beach, the meditative solitude of the Arches at Fort Point, the serenity of a museum courtyard, a peaceful bucolic landscape punctuated by an old VW Beetle, vintage boxing gloves curled around the stories they could tell, and a red stroller in conversation with an exuberantly blooming shrub. These photographs eloquently join the never-ending dialogue between the passing and the permanent, between things in motion and the still life.
Angela Filo is working on a long-term photography project on the changing landscape in Silicon Valley, as well as a series focusing on the tech boom in India. She teaches journalism and advises the school newspaper at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, which recently received a "First Place Best of Show" award by the National Scholastic Press Association. Angela's Silicon Valley photographs are in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and are included in a current show at the San Jose Museum of Art titled "Suburban Escape: Art of California Sprawl."
Youth 16 and Under
Although there were fewer entries in the youth category to choose from this year, the caliber of the work was outstanding, prompting the judges to be generous with the number of awards presented. These young photographers showed us that they have a deep understanding of the range of elements that must come together to make a strong image. In fact, some of the entries were so strong that we felt they could have held their own even outside of the youth category.
Both the first and second place photographs take as their subject matter the human footstep. While the photographers' styles are distinct, both of these images force us to slow down and reconsider a scene we otherwise may have walked right by. Shannon Hamilton's interpretation of a rain boot in a puddle uses careful framing, precise timing and awareness of light and reflections to evoke our childhood memories. Finding a unique shooting perspective beneath a translucent walkway, Max Lewis creates a sophisticated image that takes advantage of architectural forms to direct the viewer's attention. Ryan Pfleiderer's lively nighttime photograph of a downtown landmark employs digital techniques in a convincing manner and demonstrates his considerable technical skill.
David Hibbard, a former Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest winner, is a fine-art landscape photographer. 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. He exhibits his work locally, lectures on the art of photography and occasionally teaches workshops on photography. David is represented by Modernbook Gallery in Palo Alto.
Views Beyond the Peninsula
"In terms of the number of entries, this was the most popular category. There were many outstanding images, which made for some difficult judging decisions. What I look for are photographs that go beyond surface impressions and explore a place with thought, care, and imagination.
Each of the winning entries tells an engaging story, inviting us to look again. "Pigeon Pursuing Portrait" offers an enigma: if a person is more than the sum of her parts, can a photographer be more than the sum of her cameras? Portraits of dogs are frequently a photographic cliche, but "Manny of Carmel" grabbed me with its off-kilter framing and in-your-face humor. "Sunday Afternoon" has the serenity of a 19th century pastoral landscape, offering a lovely antidote to our hyper-kinetic, 21st century world."
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 the Contra Costa Times. He earned a bachelor's degree from Long Beach State University and majored in visual communications. In the last two decades, Norbert's pictures have appeared in such magazines as People, Business Week and Vanity Fair. He has also published a children's book, "Fire Station Number 4," with author Mary T. Fortney.
"Animal Crackers" by Steven Shpall gave me quite a chuckle and stood out among all the other manipulated images. I like the humor and simplicity of this picture. Often in this category the photographers didn't know when to quit but Shpall knew when to stop at the right place.
"Back Entry" by Barbara Collins had a wonderful, mystical feeling that was just fantastic.
"On the Beach at Princeton" by Carol Matre had a very nice mood to it. I really liked the blue cast the photo had. It made me want to stay inside and have another cup of Earl Grey Tea.