2018 Hal Prize Photography Winners

What Makes A Good Picture?

A note from photography judge Carl Corey

After 40-plus years of working in the picture business I believe this is the first time I have written about what makes a good picture. This is the basis of how I judge work and I feel compelled to share this with you folks looking at this year’s Hal Prize photography winners.

A picture must emotionally connect, it should share content that intrigues, interests and uniquely displays the photographer’s intent. Re-hashing postcard views and good technique won’t cut it. Technique, while very important to master, should never get in the way of content. Joyce’s Ulysses was written with little grammatical technique, but what a masterpiece it is. The same holds in the visual arts. It is all about the content. While it is true that the better you command your craft, the better you can share intriguing content, I would much rather look at an interesting poorly crafted print than a wonderfully crafted boring one. I always encourage young photographers to feel, then see, then figure out their technique for making the picture. I want to see work that adheres to Robert Frank’s mantra of Passion and Purpose. I want to feel the artist’s passion for the subject and the craft. I want the work to have a purpose. This is the criteria I have used to make the selections for this year’s Hal Prize.


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