Christian Randolph's photograph of Ava Cota got an Award of Excellence in Portrait category at the recent CPOY 70. Catching Photo of Yours (CPOY) is a new CPOY Blog feature that gives photographers a chance to share the emotional and technical aspects of making their award-winning photograph.
This portrait of Ava Cota was shot as a daily assignment during my internship for the Flint Journal and the result of a subject who thankfully was flexible as I came up with portrait ideas following a general theme on the fly.
My goal from the outset of the assignment was to create an image that was more than 'just' a photograph of a dancer. Because of Ava's skill, I knew that an image of Ava dancing would likely be visually strong enough to stand on its own but that also sparked a motivation to bring something else to the composition of the picture. Not so much to add complexity for complexity's sake, but because I felt the more visually interesting a subject you start with, the more energy as a photographer you have to invest to not just be making a snapshot of the cool thing in front of your camera.
With about an hour to scout beforehand, my focus was to find roof access and make a frame that incorporated Ava jumping and her hometown's skyline but I had no luck. Several roofs looked like prime locations but all inquiries to actually shooting there were met with polite deflections or responses of, "the person in charge of that has gone for the day." So I had nothing with five minutes until the start of the portrait.
Dougal Brownlie's photograph 'Fight for Freedom' got a Gold award in Sports Feature category at the recent CPOY 70. Catching Photo of Yours (CPOY) is a new CPOY Blog feature that gives photographers a chance to share the emotional and technical aspects of making their award-winning photograph.
I have always loved history, sports and travel. During my senior year of college college I made it a point to include a trip to a more unusual destination. When I had the rare opportunity to visit Cuba I could not resist. I knew that I would be able to find something interesting to document given the long-standing U.S. embargo against Cuba. I was really interested to see the impact of our policies on people’s lives. What I did not know was that during my visit on December 17, 2014, Obama would make an announcement calling for eventual full diplomatic relations with Cuba. I was really fortunate to have been able to witness history and to see the reactions of people everywhere.
While I was looking for a perfect moment my travel companion, Ross Thayer, invited me to accompany him to Rafael Trejo, a small covert boxing gym in Havana. Ross was doing a story on boxing, which I discovered continues to be a much-loved sport in Cuba despite the 50 year ban on professional sports. While I was at the gym, I took this picture of the young boys, their coach and the women in the window. I was hoping to show the love of boxing seen in the passion expressed by the coach, but I also wanted to include the women in the window as an expression of hope for their children to be strong and prosper. I chose to convert the photo to black and white in order to reduce distraction and to honor the nostalgia of a country on the cusp of the old and the inevitable new. sIn a way, given the historical context, this photo is a larger metaphor for Cuba, it’s fighting spirit, and it’s hope for the future.
Tim Tai's photograph 'Fire' got a Bronze award in Spot News category at the recent CPOY 70. Catching Photo of Yours (CPOY) is a new CPOY Blog feature that gives photographers a chance to share the emotional and technical aspects of making their award-winning photograph.
One staple of newspaper photojournalists’ coverage is breaking news events, which occur somewhat infrequently in a town the size of Columbia, Missouri, where I go to school. I live within earshot of a fire station and often hear the sirens turning on from my bedroom. On this particular night, I was home when I heard sirens and checked the online fire dispatch log to learn there was a fire reported at a mobile home park in the north side of town. I grabbed my gear and my car and headed over, and arrived after the fire had basically been put out. I made some pictures of the residual firefighter activity around the mobile home, which had been seriously damaged on the inside.
At that point, I was able to walk around a bit more freely near the scene, and was asking some of the onlookers if they knew who lived in the home. Someone pointed out who one of the residents, Donnie Perkins, was and I learned that he had been living in the trailer to take care of his elderly mother, but he wasn’t home when the fire occurred. As Perkins was watching the firefighters finish their activity around the home, he pulled out a cigarette and put his hand on his forehead in a look of total exhaustion. At the same time, I had noticed a young boy peering out on the scene through a window in the mobile home behind Perkins, and I tried to layer the frame with another onlooker. I took two frames, but only the first captured the quiet moment before it disappeared. It happened to be a second where the flashing lights of the fire trucks illuminated the scene with a deep red glow, and I think color is a crucial part of what makes this image striking. I made other frames of him later in the night, but I felt this was the strongest one.
Photojournalism is inherently intrusive, and it is difficult and uncomfortable for journalists to cover traumatic breaking news events like fires and shootings and whatnot. Sometimes, victims of trauma in this situations don’t want their photos taken, and it becomes harder as a journalist to communicate the feeling of the scene. But Perkins did not seem to have a problem being photographed, even at a fairly close distance, or telling me about the home and his mother. That sort of openness is a privilege and never guaranteed, but in this case I think it allowed me to make an image that helps viewers feel a sliver of the weariness and pain of the situation.