Coburn Dukehart, Photography
Unlike most of the recent Hal Prize judges, 2020 photography judge Coburn Dukehart has a history in Door County – a family history. One of her great-grandfathers began coming to Door County during the 1900s, and ever since, Ephraim has been her family’s spot – both as a place to vacation and to retire.
Dukehart has worked as senior photo editor at National Geographic, picture and multimedia editor at NPR, and a photo editor and multimedia producer at USA Today and the Washington Post. She now lives in Madison, where she’s the digital and multimedia director for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. She made the move from Washington, D.C., to Wisconsin in part so that she and her family could be closer to her parents in Door County.
Dukehart holds a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has earned multimedia awards from WHNPA, NPPA, POYi and the Milwaukee Press Club, along with Webbys and Edward R. Murrow awards. She has also been nominated for a national Emmy.
Dukehart has coached at multimedia workshops, including Eddie Adams, the NPPA Flying Short Course, NPPA Immersion workshop, and Syracuse Fall Workshop. She was the December 2018 commencement speaker at the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s graduation ceremony.
Judge’s Comment: This image has the trifecta of elements that make a winning photograph – a loving and genuine moment between a boy and his animal, soft lighting that is complementary to the mood, and a strong composition that fills the frame. The viewer’s eye is led in a loop from the cow’s eye, to the boy’s face, and around the frame counterclockwise, taking in the whole of the moment, and making you feel like you could curl up in the center of the photo too. I like how the photographer got down on the same level as the boy, really making the viewer feel as if they are with them in the hay. – Coburn Dukehart
Judge’s Comments: There is so much happening in this photo to love. The expression and stance of the girl, the coolness of the carnival worker, and the noise and color of the stuffed animals and balloons that make this frame pop. It’s the interplay between the stoic expressions of the people, and the boldness of the surroundings that make this photo so fun. The girl’s toe overlapping her foot is such a perfect expression of childhood. It makes me smile, and I wonder how many more games she is going to play to add more stuffed animals to her arms. – Coburn Dukehart
Judge’s Comments: This shot expertly uses foreground, middle-ground and background to set the scene, drawing the viewer’s eye through the frame, and hinting at the vast field of sunflowers beyond. The warm sunlight on the flowers, the bees gathering pollen, and the quaintness of the barn all work together to produce a frame that is reminiscent of a painting. Van Gogh himself could take inspiration from this scene. I like how the photographer took a low angle in this frame, shooting up at the large flower on the left. It’s so crisp I can see each individual floret in the center of the flower and can almost hear the bees buzzing around. – Coburn Dukehart