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.
These are all evocative, beautifully composed images. More of an exploration of a place than a story, but I can feel the process of slowly walking around, being there. The first image is ambiguous, but becomes readable when we see the second one. I feel stillness, serenity. Maybe it is more of a story about being a photographer who is fascinated by rail environments.
About the Photographer:
Miško Kranjec lives 300 yards from the fueling station depicted in his winning photographs. Kranjec was born in Ljubljana in 1947 when it was still part of Yugoslavia. After studying mechanical engineering in college and serving in the military, he embarked upon a photojournalism career in 1973, and has been the unofficial company photographer of Slovenia Railways since 1991, when Slovenia gained independence. He prefers to photograph, “when the weather conditions are everything but ideal (and boring) – snow, rain, fog, night, whatever but sunshine.”
This set is arguably the most professionally done. The composition and lighting is by far the best of any set. It tells a clear story in a very dramatic way. I put it second only due to my own personal preference for “real” experiences rather than contrived ones.
Patrick J. Cashin
Beautifully composed and photographed in an up-to-date environment. There is drama and progress in the everyday world of the NYC subway system. It’s a real story.
Judges Also Liked
Tim Corbeel, Lochristi, Belgium
Travis Dewitz, Altoona, Wisconsin
Jean-Marc Frybourg, Graches, France
Robert Jordan, Marengo, Illinois
Tachpasit Kunaporn, Phuket, Thailand
Phillip Martin, Miranda, New South Wales, Australia