whnpa

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After combing through 95,000 images in its archives, the WHNPA has put together an exhibit of 78 historic photographs of some of those candid moments; some are well-known, while others have been locked away for decades.

“My favorite image is the one of John F. Kennedy during the presidential campaign sitting in an open-air convertible catching a bunch of bananas,” writes WHNPA Treasurer Jon Elswick, who co-curated the exhibit with his wife, Heidi Elswick.

“I think it demonstrates the kind of access that photographers had in years past,” he says. “Today, any political situation that photographers see is managed, and it’s almost impossible to get a ‘real’ moment.”

Presidential Access: Unguarded Moments, Captured On Film

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WHNPA

The full exhibit of historic WHNPA photographs is now on display at the Edison gallery in Washington, D.C., until February.

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WHNPA 2014 Eyes of History Awards: Single Images

This is the first in a series of three slideshows. Also see the the FEATURES and PORTFOLIO winning images.


The White House News Photographers Association
announced earlier this year, that freelance photographer Astrid Riecken was named “Photographer of the Year” and Win McNamee has won “Political Photo of the Year” in the 2014 ‘The Eyes of History™’ contest judging at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.

Find more news related pictures on our photo galleries page.

Holiday observes WHNPA contest at National Geographic

Video Journalism White House News Photographers’ Association Contest

Holiday, Henrietta Annie Maria (HAH43)

Deadline: February 10, 2015

Holiday taking a “selfie” just before Student Video contest judging begins Saturday morning.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the White House News Photographers’ Association contest took place at the National Geographic Building at 1145 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC.  I attended Saturday’s Student Video competition in the cafeteria and Professional Multimedia competition in a viewing room on the fourth floor.

It was important for me to see work of my peers and hear whatever feedback would be discussed by the judges, so my priority was to attend the students’ competition judged by Beth Brown, Brian Hopkins, Khalil Abdallah and Bethany Swain.  Schools mainly composed of University of Maryland and Appalachian State University, University of Nebraska in Student Video Competition.  I observed Narrated Package and Best in Show categories.  The judges reviewed every entry in these categories; there were about 25 entries in total.  It was rewarding to listen to the reviewers feedback and willingness to share with students in the viewing-room.  They were willing to call or text entrants whose projects were password locked in Vimeo or had broken links.  Wow, that went above and beyond my expectations for a competition.  

In one particular story submitted by Ora, “every shot had context,” said Brown, “find the story, invest the time and follow it through,” added Abdallah.  This proves to be good advice because Ora’s projects ranked number one among both categories. One of my favorite pieces was a 10-minute narration called Taesha, by Ora.  This story captures my heart and leaves me understand and seeing her life through her eyes.  That impact was created through Ora’s visual and audio choices. Video was shot in High Definition, capturing clear imagery.  The story opens with a close-up of Taesha where you just see her face (eyes) and hear audio of her speaking, so I conclude that this is an honest and happy teenage girl I want to know; then we see a wide shot of her almost filling a nearly 4-foot hallway, at this shot we learn of her struggle with obesity and finally, in the medium shot, we see Taesha left with her thoughts after the dialogue with her family about a shirt being “too tight.” These were powerful images that collaborated with the dialogue in less than three minutes.  

Clearly, there were distinct differences in the footage shot.  The judges suspected that some of the submissions may have been film students; however it was unknown to them at the time.  These suspicions made it difficult to “fairly” compare the projects. “The quality of work for a [journalist] student who shoots and edit their work in one day versus a [film] student who may work on a piece for six weeks is going to be different,” noted Abdallah, to which all judges agreed.  They are recommending more distinctive categories to the WHNPA’s advisers for 2016’s competition.  

Holiday’s forefinger, Judges (left to right) Swain, Brown, Hopkins, Abdallah; and University of Maryland students watching entry #12.   Photo:Holiday

This session was invaluable. As I reflect on my notes from each submission, I had a take-away from every person who submitted. Now I have another video journalism goal: to be comfortable and pleased enough with my work where I could possibly submit to next year’s competition.

In the Professional Multimedia Competition, I observed the Issues Category. The watching-room accompanied about 15 observers with an administrator and three judges: Nancy Dondaldson, Ross Taylor and Katie Folkenberg. The judges’ approach was interesting to watch. At first they went through a list of all the entries, which were about 20 competitors.  With each project, they briefly viewed about 5 to 10 seconds to determine if the entry was “in” or “out” – literally in the competition for them to go back and review or out of the competition from their viewing for whatever reasoning they had. As an observer, this didn’t seem fair to the entrants but after this process, there were about half left for their judging. From the first wave of selectees, the judges narrowed it to the final five for consideration.  Interestingly, the multimedia projects that did not include audio were eventually rejected by the judges.  The top five were “Proof,” “Alaska Villagers…,” “Alaska Justice…,” “How You Die,” and “In Turkey…”

Some of the things that attracted me in Alaska Villagers and Alaska Justice were the natural sounds and their audio in the opening. The dramatic bass, tribal sounds, the formula of three: wide, medium and tight—all were used effectively to draw me in to the story and keep my interest.

Each selection carried its’ own creative genius and a couple were even deserving of its own category. For example, How You Die was creative in its approach. The journalist told his story through general characters in a cartoon parody. His presentation made me think about death around the world, how someone living in Sierra Leone may die versus someone living in Texas.  People die from choices made and others die from lack of healthy resources.  His approach to a serious topic; made impact on my way of thinking in a non-intrusive or threatening way.  

In the case with Proof, “It inspires me as a professional,” Taylor said, “It’s a form of storytelling that I haven’t seen.”  The storyteller narrated his presentation through the eyes of a drone, which he rented. The journalist’s video also included a long-form narration and still photos online with its video presentation. His recorded images seemed as if they were from East Asia, however the irony is that they were recorded in the States. Drones are “more of a universal issue,” Taylor and Folkenberg agreed, “There is no clear first and last [in this category competition].” The judges were firm on the placing for the last three projects. However, they deliberated over which multimedia project should make number one: Proof or Alaska Villagers?  

Judges (left to right) Taylor, Folkenberg and Donaldson discusses third viewing of Proof.  Photo: Holiday

As an artist, I can appreciate their careful deliberations over the details and making sure their decisions were made within contest rules (which often seemed vague, left up to reader’s interpretation).  The discussion continued nearly forty minutes over whether praising innovation that may not be necessarily in a traditional journalistic form or choosing a more familiar journalistic style that covered an issue creatively.  It would have been interesting to hear a point of view from  those in the room. However, the judges decided to put off the decision until the next day. I thought that was best and only fair to the submissions, after all, it was late (around 6 p.m.) and they had been there all day judging submissions.  Fresh eyes and alert minds are better when approaching difficult tasks . I respect the judges choice for not rushing into deciding for the sake of it, but holding their convictions until there is a mutually firm and final choice.

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WHNPA 2014 Eyes of History Awards: Portfolios

This is the second in a series of three slideshows. Also see the the SINGLE IMAGE and FEATURES winning images.

The White House News Photographers Association
announced earlier this year, that freelance photographer Astrid Riecken was named “Photographer of the Year” and Win McNamee has won “Political Photo of the Year” in the 2014 ‘The Eyes of History™’ contest judging at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.

Astrid Riecken is a freelance photographer based in the Washington, D.C. area. She won first prize in the Feature, Picture Story International, and Portfolio categories.

McNamee’s image of President Barack Obama speaking in the Brady White House Press Briefing Room on the Trayvon Martin case was selected as Political Photo of the Year.

The judges for the 2014 ‘The Eyes of History™’ stills competition were Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine; Tim Rasmussen, AME for photography and multimedia at The Denver Post; and John Stanmeyer, a founding member of the prestigious VII photo agency. Still Photography Contest Chairman Nikki Kahn said “The high standards of the judges set the tone for a beautiful collection of images produced by our members in this year’s WHNPA contest. On behalf of the stills committee, I congratulate all the winners.”

The multimedia, video and student competitions were also judged at the National Geographic Society over the weekend.

The top winners of the still, video, multimedia and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History™’ Gala on May 10, 2014, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the President of the United States. Nearly 1,000 guests, including government dignitaries and industry celebrities, attend. (WHNPA)

Here’s a look at the Still Contest Portfolio winners…
See also the Single Image winners slideshow and the Feature winners.

Find more news related pictures on our photo galleries page.

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WHNPA 2014 Eyes of History Awards: Features

This is the second in a series of three slideshows. Also see the the SINGLE IMAGE and PORTFOLIO winning images.

The White House News Photographers Association
announced earlier this year, that freelance photographer Astrid Riecken was named “Photographer of the Year” and Win McNamee has won “Political Photo of the Year” in the 2014 ‘The Eyes of History™’ contest judging at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.

Astrid Riecken is a freelance photographer based in the Washington, D.C. area. She won first prize in the Feature, Picture Story International, and Portfolio categories.

McNamee’s image of President Barack Obama speaking in the Brady White House Press Briefing Room on the Trayvon Martin case was selected as Political Photo of the Year.

The judges for the 2014 ‘The Eyes of History™’ stills competition were Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine; Tim Rasmussen, AME for photography and multimedia at The Denver Post; and John Stanmeyer, a founding member of the prestigious VII photo agency. Still Photography Contest Chairman Nikki Kahn said “The high standards of the judges set the tone for a beautiful collection of images produced by our members in this year’s WHNPA contest. On behalf of the stills committee, I congratulate all the winners.”

The multimedia, video and student competitions were also judged at the National Geographic Society over the weekend.

The top winners of the still, video, multimedia and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History™’ Gala on May 10, 2014, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the President of the United States. Nearly 1,000 guests, including government dignitaries and industry celebrities, attend. (WHNPA)

Here’s a look at the Still Contest Features winners…
See also the Single Image winners slideshow and the Portfolio winners.

Find more news related pictures on our photo galleries page.