Nikon Photo Contest 2012-2013, McNeil Part of Judging Team

This Year’s 2012-2013 Nikon Photo Contest seeks to join amateur and professional photographers from around the world in a celebration of creativity and photographic vision.

I am very proud to be a part of this year's team of international judges for this most excellent photo contest, thank you Nikon for inviting me to participate.

This all unfolded a couple of months ago when I got an email out of the blue, asking whether I'd be interested in being a Nikon judge for their upcoming 2012-2013 contest. I'm not at liberty to share how I was selected, but am in awe of my fellow judges, including the lead judge, Chris Rainier.

It was like being asked whether I'd like to be on the next rocketship to the moon. Are you kidding? Sign me up, man. I've even got my own spacesuit all ready to go and will be waiting by the front door to hit the road. Let's go already.

From the Nikon website:

"With more than 1 million photographs shared via the Internet every day, the world of photography is undergoing tremendous change. And so, on its 34th anniversary, the historic, worldwide Nikon Photo Contest is changing as well. In this exciting new phase, we're changing its name, adding a photographic video category and opening up the judging to expert photographers selected from all over the world.

Our goal is to foster a growing, global community of photographers creating images that stand apart through their creativity, their ability to move people and their capacity for communication. The Nikon Photo Contest is a forum that brings together people with a passion for photography and an active commitment to bettering their art. Here, photographers of all sorts can acknowledge each other, be stimulated by diverse points of view and thrive through competition."

Nikon has got their act down with the contest, having hosted it since 1969. They shot me off an email asking me to give them a short message to photographers who'll be interested in submitting work. This was a very nice personal touch, because it gives photographers an idea of what judges are thinking about when it comes to excellent photography. I thought about it for a couple days and drafted most if it on my bike rides to school, because that's when I think the clearest. They wanted the quote, a photo of myself and a short bio for their website:

I believe that above all else, a photographer's job is to make visual poetry using their own way of seeing, to help make sense of a world that sometimes makes no sense, to help make the world a better place than they found it, and to be fearless with their photography.

My biography is on their website too, please go check it out. I was noticing that my resume (or CV, Curriculum Vita, as we say in academia) goes on for more than 20 pages, so my challenge was to distill it into a narrative that told the story of what I've been doing with photography all these years. Having a lot of fun, I'd say. Well, that plus making work that has to do with the above quote too.

In the meantime, the contest starts on December 1st, 2012! Check out their website and study their categories.

What's cool about it is that it is open to both pros and amateurs with four categories. In the past I've been known to make work for a specific exhibition, fellowship, contest or museum. This is not cheating, its simply knowing your audience and being sensitive to what their sensibilities are. You don't compromise your work in any manner, and as a matter of fact you do just the opposite by reaffirming what makes you unique in the universe. I'd reiterate what I wrote in my statement to people who submit work. "Be fearless, make visual poetry that uses your own visual way of seeing the world, and offer your interpretation of the world that helps make sense of it..."

I'll guarantee you that I will be advocating very persuasively for work that I view to be excellent work, which is why Nikon asked me to participate as part of a very diverse group of judges. I know from past experience that any given panel of judges will have natural disagreements and there will be a lot of give and take along the way, which is what makes it exciting and fun.

You have from December 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013 to submit work (check their website for all the rules; theirs supersedes any information shared here). Now pick up your camera and go out into the world and make fantastic photographs.

Good luck!

Story and photos Copyright Larry McNeil, 2012. All Nikon logos are owned by the Nikon Corporation.

  • NikonLogo_Welcome.jpg
  • McNeil_Portrait_NikonJudge2012.jpg
  • NikonContestLogo.jpg