Overview by Joseph Elliott, 2011 Judge and Professor of Art (Photography) and Head of Department at Muhlenberg College
There were a lot of good images, and I enjoyed looking through them. I applaud the Center for working to raise the quality and expand the point-of-view of rail-oriented photography. We all love trains and rail environments, but often we love them so much that we can’t make good pictures of them.
The top three choices are all excellent, in different ways. All combine three photographically strong images in a coherent theme, or story. If it was up to me I would say they should share first place in a three-way tie.
In the remaining entries, there were many cases of one or two strong images, as well as a weaker one, or good images without a decipherable theme. I selected a total of six additional sets that I also liked.
2011 Theme: A Story in Three Photographs
The theme for 2011 was “A Story in Three Photographs,” which encouraged photographers to assemble a group of three photos linked by a narrative thread. Written statements to accompany the entries were strictly optional, and in fact, we encouraged entries that would stand by themselves without need for accompanying text. The story being told could be about an event depicted in the series, the illustration of a span of time, a creative interpretation of a single subject, the depiction of a worker’s day unfolding, a triptych or any set of three pictures that the photographer felt conveyed the arc of a story. We hoped the theme got the creativity flowing and encouraged entrants to consider why they photograph something and what it says to viewers.
Enter the 2012 awards program; top prize is a Canon EOS 60D digital camera and 18-135mm lens.