Nat'l Geographic Photo Contest: Help Me Pick A Winner!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

If you're reading this, I need your help!
National Geographic Traveler magazine's fourth annual "World In Focus" photography contest ends later this month, and I've decided (perhaps foolishly) that I must take part!

After years of traveling, and over 20,000 photos snapped around Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America, surely one of them must be of National Geographic caliber, right? Think of NG's majestic cranes, the docks fading into the mist, brightly painted Saharan warriors, polar bears duelling on the sea ice, the piercing stare of the Afghan girl... or better yet, check out the contest winners from the last few years.

Obviously, I'm up against some stiff competition. Not to mention that I've never taken a photography class, don't even have great equipment, and have always considered myself more of a writer than a photographer. Nonetheless, after much agonizing I've selected 10 photos that I
consider a few of my best. Now I'm asking you to help me choose which one to enter. Keep in mind that NG photo editors will be evaluating the entries according to these factors: 34 percent for creativity, 33 percent for sense of place, and 33 percent for capturing the moment.

So, which of these photos is of true National Geographic quality? (Ok, so the answer is probably "None of them" but please humor me and vote for one or a few that you consider the best—the contest judges will crush my hopes eventually, so you won't have to :)

Cast your vote in the ballot to the right, or in the comments below. Thanks! Update: Voting is now closed—thanks to all for sharing your opinions! Please see "Photography Poll Results: The People Have Spoken" for more.

1. The anthill lookout (northern Uganda) (received 22 votes)

2. Children reflected (Damascus, Syria) (received 11 votes)

3. Boy at the medersa pool (Fes, Morocco) (received 19 votes)

4. Illuminated musicians (Marrakech, Morocco) (received 0 votes)

5. The "huh?" bird (Essaouira, Morocco) (received 0 votes)

6. Catnap with a cactus (Essaouira, Morocco) (received 2 votes)

7. Hammocks in a blue wood (Frederick, MD, USA) (received 17 votes)

8. Prayers from above (Lalibela, Ethiopia) (received 10 votes)

9. Green-robed worshiper (Lalibela, Ethiopia) (received 10 votes)

10. Little biker with blast walls (Erbil, Iraq) (received 13 votes)

Cast your vote in the ballot to the right, or in the comments below. Thanks! Update: Voting is now closed—thanks to all for sharing your opinions! Please see "Photography Poll Results: The People Have Spoken" for more.


Boushra said...

It is really hard to choose. I love The anthill lookout and I think it is beautiful in color density, consistency and contrast. so it is creative and has a strong sense of the place. the only thing i am not sure about though is the live moment, or the scene, if i could say.
Prayers from above, on the other hand captures a live moment, has a very strong of the place, but less creative. You might work on the title though, indicating the religion, and the absence of women.
The Green-robed worshiper I think is a strong candidate. it is a beautiful scene, and culturally loaded even if it doesn't show much of the 'place'.
I gotta say that I really have so little experience in this field, I am giving my personal perspective.
Good luck

Alex Lacey said...

Number 3. It's the color contrasts that do it for me.

Jon Green said...

I'd have to say 3, buts that's possibly because I have an attachment to Fes

Peter W said...

2 is my favorite; have seen it on Courtney's desktop for many years

Henry said...

I vote for Hammocks in a blue wood (already put it in the poll). -Henry v.W.

Erin Maz said...

I vote #1. Unique, never seen before, and THAT'S AN ANTHILL! Pretty cool.

Andrew G. Farrand said...

Awesome guys... loving the feedback!
Feel free to share with friends - the more input the better.

Patrick Elliot said...

The green-robed worshiper is very strong! I love how you caught such an intensely powerful moment there. The kid with the blast walls is also great, mostly because of the art on the blast walls -- very captivating. And third, I love the anthill moment -- very cool.

Andrew G. Farrand said...

I'm surprised how even the tally is so far - there are no real frontrunners.
Each entry will cost me $12, so I can't submit them all. There may be some hard decisions in my future unless one of them pulls ahead!

Amaan said...

My vote is for 2, although 1 and 8 are among my favorites as well. Great pics! And who says you aren't a photographer - sure got me fooled...

Carolyn W. Colburn said...

All really great Andrew, but I would vote for Anthill Lookout. Triangular compositions are always pleasing to the eye, I love that the man is clothed in orange, as is the anthill. The fact that you placed it first tells me you may have leanings towards this image as the "one". Good luck, and please keep us posted of the results.

Bobbie Hash said...

While I enjoyed each photograph, there is something unique about "Hammocks in a Blue Wood" that speaks to me!
Best of luck....enjoy the journey!

Madeleine said...

I also like "Hammocks in a Blue Wood". It has a quiet strength you captured. Best of luck to you. Keep have a talent.

Sarah said...

I think the best ones are:
#3 - I think Nat'l Geographic is historically afraid to publish photos with a true voyeuristic perspective, BUT I think they also pride themselves on that sort of exotic perspective... I think this looks beautiful and sad to me.
#7 is just a totally wacky idea. It's like a merge of different worlds (at least from my perspective as mostly untraveled American) which also seems to be the magazine's go to as a sort of 'discovery' for it's readers. It's also just plain beautiful. It's creepy and unfamiliar.
... just my opinion :) good luck! I think you're a fine photographer.

Ellen Eltgroth said...

#7 Hammocks in a Woods is by far my favorite. It is eerily beautiful, with the juxtaposition of summer objects in a deep, dark, foggy and definitely winter scene. An ironic twist!

Jake P said...

The boy at the pool is amazing. It's so voyeuristic, but that imparts a feeling of seeing something that is rarely not (not to be confused with something that shouldn't be seen). There's a story here that we're not privy to, but we want to know.

Emily N said...

It's really so hard to choose! I voted for boy at the pool. There is something mythic (narcissus?) about it, and I love the colors and feel. You'll rank high for capturing the moment.

Laurence said...

I like number three, but then I've always had a thing for reflections :)

Laurence said...

By three I meant two. My inability to count is a mite embarrasing...

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