Pictorial, Journalism, Creative
Judge: Neal Menschel
Bio. Neal Menschel has been a photographer for over 35 years. He has photographed six presidents, as well as many international leaders. . He began his career as a photographer for the Anchorage Daily News in Anchorage, Alaska. As a freelance photographer Neal’s clients have included The New York Times, Newsweek, MIT, Tufts, Wellesley College, People, Geo, Front Line, Yankee, as well as other publications and numerous corporate clients. Neal also worked as an associate producer and sound recordist on a series of award winning documentary films for WGBH-Boston, and WBZ-TV, Boston, additionally teaching photography/documentary photography at Boston University. Neal was the Director of Photography and Senior Photographer for the Christian Science Monitor where he traveled extensively, both nationally and worldwide, specializing in third world politics and development, environmental issues, domestic politics, humanitarian, social, and cultural issues, always with a focus on people and matters of the “human heart.” Neal was the Director of Photography for the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, a graduate and undergraduate training program in photography, radio, and writing, in Portland, Maine. Neal led their photography program for nine years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the students Neal has taught, mentored, and shared his passion for photography and visual storytelling are now successfully carrying on careers in photojournalism and fine art photography. He teaches in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program while he continues his work as a photographer, journalist, teacher/mentor/coach, and workshop instructor/leader. You can view examples of Neal’s work at www.nealmenschel.com
Judging Philosophy. I have spent a lifetime creating, editing, choosing, and critiquing photographs, both my own and others. Enough time to know and understand the subjectivity of all of those experiences. I am also aware of the multitude of paradigms that our choices filter through as we approach final decisions. I try to keep these things in mind as images are narrowed to final choices. I look for all of the defining aspects of content in a photograph, including emotion, composition in all its manifestations, possible activities, light, mood and ambiance, character of any kind (even trees have a sense of character), and finally, a sense of time and place. I am interested in photographs that might elicit a more universal response from a broader cross section of viewers than just myself. To do that I feel a photograph ideally must surprise the viewer with originality and lack of predictability. To put it all simply, I am not so interested in how something looks, I want to know how it felt to the photographer when the photograph was created, what it felt like to “be there,” to have been the one to push the shutter.