The panel of judges for ENR’s annual “Year in Construction” photo contest resembled a boots-on-the-ground construction crew, hot off the jobsite. They packed into a Santa Monica, Calif., conference room in December for a rowdy, high-energy review of nearly 1,000 submissions. They were so engaged and animated, the judging took twice as long as usual, but the selections are perhaps the most construction-centric we have ever had.
Some sample exchanges: Tom Farrar, a senior project manager at Clark Construction, Los Angeles, pointed to a shot of a silhouette of a crane swinging a large panel over a busy site and exclaimed: “As a rigging instructor, this excites me!” Others loudly agreed, but Luke Sommer—a professional photographer from Modern Human, Ojai, Calif., drafted for the panel to inject artistic and technical appraisals—pushed back, saying, “But it’s not a rigging contest, right? It’s a photo contest.” He was overruled.
Another photo showed a worker standing near the edge of a partly demolished brick wall and gazing off at a gray horizon. “What are they trying to show—that the guy’s about to fall off the ledge?” demanded Roger Loomis, safety manager at Morley Builders. His charge was to flag safety violations, such as poor fall protection, missing hardhats or safety glasses.
Sommer spoke up to praise the composition. “It’s the way he’s framed by that doorway,” he said, but then criticized the photographer for overediting the image, pushing to the limit the high-dynamic-range adjustments of the camera and software. Keith Van Alast, senior superintendent at contractor Austin Commercial, rebutted with an admiring expletive but finally axed the entry: “Doesn’t have his harness on.”
“We can’t keep it,” said Greg Aragon, an ENR reporter there to speak up for editorial considerations. “Next photo.”
Loomis, again: “Sue me, but I’m not moved by this guy walking through the water.” Argued Sommer, “But the walls are perfectly symmetrical, and it’s the way the water reflects the worker!”
The debates went on well into the afternoon until 34 winners were chosen. Enjoy the results!