Friday, November 9


one of the priviledges of living in columbia is being able to sit in during the judging of two very prestigious photo contests, CPOY and POYi. in between assignments this week i sat in a darkened room and listened to four judges narrow the field for a dozen categories of entries for cpoy. it was neat to see familiar work from friends make it into the finals and win awards. it was inspiring to see interesting characters and issues flash on the screen by the thousands.

in the context of this particular competition, there are qualities of good photojournalism that make it into the top tier everytime. excellent photography won't always get you past the first round. a pretty picture without a story will fail against an equally pretty one with a story. in other words, it's about the story, stupid.

this morning's judging of individual audio-slideshow confirmed for me some thoughts about what "the story" is. there is a glut of bad storytelling in this format in general. at its worst it's a source of boredom, missed opportunities and misapplied resources. seeing the things that don't work, over and over again, will hopefully innoculate me against doing them in my own work.

  • The story is not "Hello, my name is _____."
  • The story is not the recited history of place, people or events.
  • The story is not the summary of the story.
  • The story is not the introduction.
  • The story is not the interview.
  • The story is not the process.
  • The story is not people talking about other people's stories.
there's a much more helpful list to be made of what the story actually is. i'm still working on that one. haha.

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