Five world famous photo editors, who individually judged the five 2009 editions of Editor’s Choice 1, gathered together in Amsterdam recently to debate, argue, vote and finally pick the best three images submitted to Editor’s Choice 1 from a total entry of over 11,000 photographs.
The Editor’s Choice 1 judging panel met at CPN’s main offices with the judging chaired by Aidan Sullivan (Vice President of Photo Assignments, Getty Images), who was joined by Magdalena Herrera (Director of Photography, GEO France), Barbara Stauss (Picture Director, Mare magazine), Volker Lensch (Photo Editor, Stern magazine) and Monica Allende (Picture Editor, The Sunday Times Magazine).
A total of 151 pictures were shortlisted for consideration and to survive the first round each picture needed the votes of at least two judges. At the start of judging Aidan Sullivan advised: “It’s a bit odd not having categories, but this is just choosing images for no other reason than we like them.” So, the lights went down and the shortlisted pictures were beamed onto a giant white screen...
The diverse shortlist – including landscapes, wildlife, reportage, portraits, aerial shots, black and white images, graphic shots and pictures full of humour – was swiftly cut down to just 25 photographs as the judges, unsurprisingly given their huge experience, all demonstrated a ruthless streak and clarity of thought about image choices.
The ruthlessness of the panel meant round two of the judging was reached in under half an hour, so Aidan Sullivan opened round two with the advice: “Let’s take it nice and slow.” Comments from the judges in round two ranged from comparisons to the work of Margaret Bourke White, to “it’s very powerful, but there are about four stops of Photoshop in that,” and “this is the perfect composition,” whilst Barbara Stauss even recognised a particular stranded ship in one photograph.
Round two required at least three votes out of five from the judges to keep an image in the contest, but again decisions were almost unanimous and after round two the ‘cut’ was down to 10 images. This meant round three was to vote pictures ‘out’, not ‘in’, and after two rounds of voting the shortlist was down to just six pictures.
All six of the final images were debated at some length. The images were of an African registry office, an ape in a zoo, waiters in a restaurant, young women in a vintage car, an African schoolroom and a man surrounded by walls. Judges comments included “It’s telling me something I don’t really like”, “there’s something wonderful about this image”, and “It has nothing for me – it’s just a fashion shot.”
One of the final six photographs was then eliminated to leave a final five from which the judges had to pick the top three placed pictures for Editor’s Choice 1 via secret ballot. Each judge had a total of 10 points to award from which they could award a maximum of seven points to any single image.
All of the judging was witnessed by Kieran Magee, Head of the Professional Imaging Marketing Division at Canon Europe, who commented: “What was amazing was that there was absolute convergence to a result. I didn’t think it was possible to have this many people judging and actually come to three images they thought collectively, almost universally, were the best three out of thousands.”
Of the winning image Aidan Sullivan remarked: “I love it – it’s a very strong image,” and Monica Allende added: “I really like it. I like the message, the strength, the anger that’s there.” So, which picture was the favourite with the judges? Did your image win? Well, why not watch the multimedia presentation below to find out the top three images...
* The judges and CPN would like to thank all of the Canon photographers who submitted their images to the Editor’s Choice 1. Please note that CPN is currently setting up a new version of Editor’s Choice – look out for further details on the CPN website in the very near future.