Okay. Every photographer waits for the PDN annual for one reason or another. To get inspiration from amazing work (to get off your ass and shoot more, better stuff). To keep tabs on the industry. To see who beat you out for a spot in the issue. For me, it’s all of the above. Early May is one of the few times a year I check my mailbox daily.
So after so many years of this ritual, I have noticed a PDN pattern that gets under my skin for a week or two (though no longer than four). Every year I am blown away by some amazing images that make me really really jealous. And every year I am dumbfounded by some work that makes me wonder WTF? How did this EVER make it into this Annual that I bow to? Let’s take this year, for example. In the “Advertising” section–the opening section–there is an ad for the Microsoft Windows “I am a PC” campaign. A young woman is standing outside, wind blowing her hair. Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect to Harlan Erskine, the photographer who shot this image. Or to the campaign. Or to Crispin Porter Bogusky who developed it. I just don’t honestly get how this is one of only 19 images/campaigns to be awarded. The shot is fine enough and technically good. But it’s just a pic of a girl smiling. A snapshot hundreds (I won’t say thousands) of guys have probably taken of their girlfriends at Washington Square Park.
Somehow the 24 judges deemed this exceptional. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe this is part of a bigger campaign that PDN chose to edit down to a single image. I don’t know. I do know there’s at least one a year like this that boggles my frontal lobe.
Or maybe I’m just jealous that I’m not in the book. Maybe that’s it.