The other night a bunch of Utah photojournalists gathered at Lamb’s Cafe to honor the best work of last year. The results were in for the Utah News Photographers Association’s 2006 Photojournalism Competition.
Eli Lucero, a photographer at the Herald-Journal in Logan, was the contest coordinator this year. We took turns as emcee, switching off announcing the awards in each category. He announced the categories where Tribune photographers did well and I announced ones we where didn’t. It’s too weird to be announcing your own (or your co-workers’) awards, so this worked well. The Herald-Journal swept the sports feature category and I’m sure Eli was relieved not to have to announce his own first and third place wins. I’ll bet that no one there put it together- the reason we were switching off.
But talk about a tough group. Don’t think you can get up in front of this group of photographers and crack a few jokes to lighten the mood. These folks are tense! It’s always been this way at the awards banquet. Must be because they’re all stressed out wondering if they won or not. We tried to keep the mood light, but it’s like putting out a blazing inferno with a spray bottle. People are always tightly wound at this thing.
I’ll try to mention a lot of the awards in a future post. As a group, we Tribune photographers did very well. As an individual, I took home a couple of minor awards.
The highlight of the night was to see my colleague Leah Hogsten be named Photographer of the Year. After four years of coming so close to the title, she finally claimed it.
The POY trophy is a traveling trophy, like the less-presitigious Stanley Cup. The winner takes it to display at home or office.
Last year’s winner, Scott Winterton, took the thing home and did some serious refurbishing. What had previously been only a couple slabs of wood and a spray-painted old camera came back as a serious trophy, with custom woodwork with individual plaques for each of the seven photographers of the year we’ve named. The job he did in improving the trophy was some amazing craftsmanship. It’s now a serious object, and almost requires two people to carry. I can only imagine what will happen to it if he wins again. Big thanks to Scott.
In seven years, seven photographers have laid claim to the title of UNPA Photographer of the Year: Chuck Wing, Steve Griffin, Trent Nelson, Alan Murray, Rick Egan, Scott Winterton, Leah Hogsten.
No one has repeated. And several new talented faces have entered the market. Can’t wait to see who takes it home next year.