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RESULTS: “After Dark” Photo Assignment

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(NOTE: click here for results of the Joel Meyerowitz “Seeing the Light” contest)

THE ASSIGNMENT: “Art director working on revamp of old magazine (24 HOURS) seeking photos of nighttime scenes (indoor/outdoor) for cover and inside stories. The more artistic, the better. Any format. Color or B&W. New or archived.”

Because I really am an Art Director, and I actually was the AD of 24HOURS magazine in Los Angeles, this was right up my alley. But, normally, an assignment is more specific. Like: “After Dark: City Life” or “After Dark: Nature Doesn’t Sleep” or something like that, where there is already an article in the works, and the images need to illustrate that article. Or book. Or whatever. But I didn’t do that. I just kept it broad and open in order for you to show me: “the essence of After Dark.”

THE JUDGING PROCESS: I was the Assigner, and I was pleasantly surprised, both by the number of entries and by their quality. The first thing I did was to move past those images that did not really meet the assignment specs, which were: “…taken between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.” While there were some excellent photos outside of this time range, I had to take them out of consideration.

THE RESULTS: All of this is subjective, and with a broad, somewhat-vague assignment, it’s pretty hard to pick exact winners. But I did it anyway. Using the standard criteria of: (1) did the image meet the assignment theme, (2) was it original and creative, (3) did it exhibit good photo technique and quality, and (4) did it have strong overall impact and artistic merit, here are your winners in the “After Dark” assignment… (Note: click on images for a larger view)

1st Place Overall
“Night Fog”
by Tanguero Chino

ABOVE: Exhibiting almost perfect technical execution, this composition takes you from the bright graffiti down the stairs and into the gloomy, foggy mist below. Tremendous photo.

 
2nd Place Overall
“Alone”
by Giovanni Savino

ABOVE: This image riveted me the moment I saw it. It’s beautiful and soulful. The man is alone and staring right at me. Right through me. It’s snowing, he’s cold, and the dark emptiness is all around him.

 
3rd Place Overall
“Scary Night”
by leka huie

ABOVE: This is a great abstraction created with a slow shutter speed on a moving train. The photographer talks about being scared and shaking in Japan. The photo not only communicates that, but it’s a wonderful composition with an excellent color palette.

 
Best Cover
This was a tough one with several options. Covers are vertical and with room for logos and blurbs. I’ve probably designed more than 100 magazine covers in my time. And the one photo that really spoke to me (and not already a Top 3) was this image of a fireworks display in Ireland. It’s almost perfectly suited to be a cover photo.

“Carousel”
by Michal Baran

ABOVE: This image is great for a magazine cover. Plenty of room at the top for the main logo, and while it’s tight on the sides, there’s still room above and below the main lights for cover blurbs, shipping labels, etc.

 
Best 2-Page Spread
A 2-page spread (also called a “double truck”) can either be on its own with little or no text, or it can include lots of text if there’s enough contrast between image and text. Taking the middle road and not picking one of the Top 3, I really liked this image:

“Oakland Bay Bridge at Night”
by Alexandr Marinenko

ABOVE: A great spread shot with room for a title and text at top left that showcases different types of illumination and reflections. And you have the double subjects (bridge + old pilings) forming converging diagonals and also representing old and new. Cool.

 
Honorable Mentions
These are also great images and could be used to fill an article’s pages, either as small inserts or larger pieces. From realistic to abstract, all 10 rated high for me…

 
“Path to Darkness”
by Brian Pflanz

ABOVE: A wonderfully evocative B&W that’s well-framed with great perspective and a soft and subtle feeling of growing darkness punctuated by the walkway lamps.

 
“Lost in the Woods”
by Elizabeth

ABOVE: A strangely abstract image that could be a photo illustration for a horror movie, magazine, or book. True to its title, I’m frightened just looking at it.

 
“Turkish DeLights”
by Jeanne

ABOVE: The title’s a play on words, but the composition is strong with very different and intersecting diagonals, and all in different colors. A very artful shot made on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

 
“Memory of New Years”
by Lrussellphotography

ABOVE: A deceptively simple shot with a lot of impact. The lamp glow is magnetic and ethereal, pulling me in like a moth to a flame.

 
“London at Night”
by OAPhotography

ABOVE: I was drawn to this not only for its dramatic scale but also for the misty veil the fog creates as the colors are diffused through it. You really get the feeling of “London fog.”

 
“The Door and Light”
by Oleg Koval

ABOVE: A simple and dramatic image that is inviting us to come in from the dark and cold night. I especially like the shading on the steps and the single light bulb hanging.

 
“Las Vegas Dunes”
by Richard

ABOVE: A uniquely abstract view of one of the most photographed places: Las Vegas, Nevada. Richard explains that this captures the Las Vegas Dunes Hotel & Casino just before they tore it down with explosions.

 
“Night Stroll”
by Margo Taussig Pinkerton

ABOVE: This is a great “city atmosphere” shot that really communicates “the night“ as people are captured walking across a tiled piazza. You can see and feel the energy of the walkers on their way to a restaurant or party. The contrasts of light and dark, motion and stillness help tell the story.

 
“Grainy Night E”
by Raimundo Lagos

ABOVE: This image is a good fine-art piece. With it’s huge grain and muted atmosphere, it should be hanging on a gallery wall. In fact, photographer Raimundo says that this image will be part of his book telling the story of what it’s like to work as a photographer on a cruise ship.

 
“Evening Ambiance”
by Crouddell

ABOVE: Another image with a lot of feeling. And, well, Ambiance! The man is alone with his thoughts at the park in the dark. A good place to end this contemplation of After Dark images.

 
So there you have it!
A great result for the first Photo Assignment on the new PhoozL. Thanks to ALL the photographers and photo enthusiasts who participated! We hope you were challenged, had fun, and learned more about photography at the same time.

Ready for your next Assignment?

– Harald Johnson

P.S. Prize icons are available for the Top 3 places.

 

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