Each time we announce the Photography Jubilee in conjunction with our annual lit contest, it seems that without fail, the phone will ring the next morning. A non-descript voice on the other end of the line asks, “What sort of photos are you looking for in the contest?”
And while this seems like a fairly straightforward question, I assure you, the answer is anything but.
For the past several years, the photo portion of our contest has been judged by the staff at the Pulse. As each member sits around our conference table, bringing with them their own area of expertise – from graphic design and photography to news writing and editing – we filter through the stack of photos one by one. With this year’s submissions topping 200 photographs, one can imagine it might make our jobs easier if we did have a simple answer to that question. Being able to narrow down the selections in one fell swoop would certainly save us a bit of time in the fast-paced summer of Door County.
However, instead, we give each image a chance, keeping in mind our medium – newsprint – first and foremost. Even with the advances in technology, our recycled paper and soy inks, the art of printing a newspaper is still an imperfect science. We want to select images that will reproduce well on our pages.
Also, we look for those photos that contain an interesting subject matter. While you may think your beloved pet is the greatest being alive, more often than not that love and affection does not always translate through a printed picture. However, there are inevitably photos in the bunch that capture a moment, tell a story, beg a question, or provide a unique angle or perspective. These are the photos that make it through the cuts.
And last, but certainly not least, we consider the technical merits of a photo. Did the photographer consider the composition before closing the shutter? Does the focal point direct the viewer’s eye? Are the colors crisp? It is the photographs that show off a photographer’s aptitude that end up topping our pile for print.
With all that said, the Pulse started as a paper to provide an alternative voice, an alternative outlet and an alternative resource to the Door County community. And, oftentimes, I think the annual literary and photo issue holds truest to those origins. By clearing the space on our pages for new voices, visions and talents to be exposed, and by not explicitly soliciting a particular type of image, we hope to perpetuate the influx of creativity throughout the county and beyond.
Thank you to all of the photographers who submitted work for this year’s contest, and congratulations to those individuals who exceeded our expectations earning a place within the pages of this issue.