1ST PLACE, FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Nov. 4, 2006: Dennis Oda seems to have depicted the most idyllic of moments in this image of Jack Laufer, winner of the Star-Bulletin's "A Prairie Home Companion" essay contest (his winning piece was about a canoe club). The endless stretch of Lanikai beach and the sleek kayak slung over Laufer's shoulder create perfect lines of composition. Add to that a purity in the color of the sand, sea and sky -- and the perfection of an instant on Kailua Beach is captured forever.
Star-Bulletin photographers sweep top honors at the Pa'i Awards for journalistic excellence
All three of the award-winning images on this page capture the essence of their subjects, but they also offer a glimpse into the souls of their creators. The approaches in the images reflect decisions made in an instant by the photographers as they aimed for timelessness.
Three unique photos from three unique thinkers won top honors at last week's Pa'i Awards, issued by the Hawaii Publishers Association.
Nearly all journalists aim to serve the community in which they live, by interpreting stories of the people, places and events they cover. The resulting images are usually imparted with a point of view, unintended or otherwise.
Photojournalists are the eyes of the community, representing the reader and interpreting the world around them. In complementing an article, in the best of circumstances, a news photograph offers an insight that goes beyond the written word, beyond a mere statement of fact or a plain record of an event.
1ST PLACE, SPOT NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
June 13, 2006: The drama of the flames, as real and as frightening as they appear, come secondary to empathy for a weary firefighter in Jamm Aquino's photograph taken at the blaze that destroyed the University Lab School. Jamm's image becomes a self-contained story of the hardship experienced by the first responders at the scene. » See the complete collection
Just as a writer brings personality and character to prose, a photographer brings a unique perspective to each image captured. More than a few decisions about light, composition, relative location and perspective -- as well as the choosing the moment to trip the shutter -- are made in a mere instant.
Judging any visual art can be subjective, often relying on the mood of a judge on a given day, with personal biases coming into play. A few technical rules govern the judging of photography, but panel judging multiplies the variables. Group dynamics can manifest in "horse trading," if not downright politicking.
Dennis Oda, a staff photographer of 25-plus years, once said to me, "I'd rather be lucky than good." It was a statement made out of modesty that belies the talent and commitment to the profession exhibited by himself and his co-workers represented here. Lucky? Maybe. Good? No, excellent.
All three photographs and their creators are wonderful examples of visions recognized.
2ND PLACE, FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jan. 26, 2006: Necessity was definitely the mother of invention in the making of this image by Richard Walker. A radio-controlled flash mounted in a white umbrella created a clever light source that became a playful, innovative prop for the rock band Linus. The band members, seen on Nuuanu Avenue: Stanley Hardjadinata, left, Danmerle Capati, David Neely and Nikolaus Daubert.
George F. Lee is the Star-Bulletin's photo editor.