Inside D.C. entertainment

Pictures of the Year at the Newseum

April 21, 2011 - 02:29 PM
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Lauren Greenfield model falling
Lauren Greenfield/Institute Award of Excellence, Feature Picture Story — Freelance/Agency A model slips on the runway during the spring 2010 show of designer Jason Wu in New York City.

The life of a news photographer is one in which you are boned by the world as often as possible. Staff jobs are rare, and you're often the first to go in layoffs. Freelance rates have been static for longer than Lady Gaga has been alive. And speaking of Lady Gaga, she'd like the rights to your photographs after you've taken them.

But maybe the biggest insult to photojournalists is how short their work is around; a day, a week — this is as long as most lenspeople can usually hope to have their work in front of the public's eyes.

Which is the reasoning behind an exhibit like "Pictures of the Year," which opens at the Newseum tomorrow.

Rick Shaw, director of Pictures of the Year International, which judged the entries for the competition, says he sees the show as "extending the reach of the photographer."

"People are looking at Yahoo! and they're looking at photos in a small square," he says, surrounded by gorgeous blowups of some of the winners' prints, like Platon's Time portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi. (To underline Shaw's point, please note that the Lauren Greenfield image above this post is far more arresting when viewed in person, a quality a 606 by 404-pixel image simply cannot convey.)

The rules of the contest are catholic: "The photographer does not need to be professional, and the images don't need to be published," Shaw says. At the Newseum, there's a shot of dazed victims of the Haiti earthquake that Daniel Morel published on Twitter, and a stunning view of Deepwater Horizon collapsing that ran in the New York Times credited to "Anonymous" -- a worker on a nearby boat took it and the paper wanted to protect his identity.

There are locally relevant winners. Steve Winter, who shoots for National Geographic, has a marvelous shot of a tiger charging a remote camera. And CQ's Scott Ferrell has a picture on the wall, as does the Washington Times' Drew Angerer, who took his 1,000-wordser of President Clinton bounding onstage in the White House briefing room as President Obama looks especially defeated.

That photo was for the New York Times, where Angerer, 24, recently completed an internship. "I can't thank steve Crowley and doug mills enough for their help and guidance- they are the 2 staff shooters in dc for NYT," says Angerer via email, thumbing out some answers while awaiting a press conference at the Wilson Building. "They and my editors in NYC gave me the keys to the kingdom and trusted me to do good work."

His picture did not run in the Times, however: "they went with an AP photo the next day," Angerer says.

Pictures of the Year opens tomorrow and runs to Oct. 31 at the Newseum. On Saturday, April 30, there will be a series of lectures and demonstrations, including a "photo safari" around the museum with Steve Winter.

WATCH: Philip Stewart's video report from yesterday

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