We debuted Best in Show awards last year and they proved to be such a popular addition to the contest, we were eager to bring them back for our 9th annual Exposed DC Photography Show. Of the 42 photographs in this year’s exhibit, five have been recognized by a panel of distinguished D.C. metro-area editors and photojournalists. The five winning photographers will each receive a $100 cash prize from Exposed DC.
We’ll be announcing the winners daily through next Tuesday.
This year’s first Best in Show recipient is the superb “This reminded me of Diane Arbus” by Kashif Javaid. Well done Kashif! His photo was chosen by judge Susana Raab, a fine-art and documentary photographer working in Washington, D.C. She told us (before she know what Kashif titled it):
I selected this image because of its simplicity and the unusualness of the moment found within an everyday scene. I love how the awkwardness of the girl’s arms caught inside her coat and the gesture of her hands over her eyes creates an allegorical image – a blank canvas ripe for projection. The photograph has a Diane Arbusian appeal within its discomfort and tension. I think the photographer was successful in transforming the ordinary into an iconic image.
Exposed: Regarding your photo’s title, at what point did you realize that the image reminded you of Diane Arbus? Did it happen while you were taking the shot or later?
Kashif Javaid: I was already photographing other kids to my left and I realized this girl was walking towards us. Through the viewfinder I looked at her and initially thought her hands were inside the jacket sleeves but they were somewhere else – unusual. As I focused the lens on her, Diane Arbus came to my mind, specifically the boy with a grenade in his hand. I thought of her as this is the kind of stuff she paid attention to. I pressed the shutter in time – luck.
What is it about the work of Diane Arbus that appeals to you?
Arbus was able to see and photograph surrealism that exists in everyday reality. She worked hard on the street and documented it well instead of creating it in the studio on her own terms.
Which other photographers do you admire, and why?
Jacob Riis – for the obvious reason that he showed us how the other half lives.
James Nachtwey – because war kills people like you and me who live elsewhere. Hats off to people like Nachtwey and the Turnley brothers for bringing war’s realities to us.
Brassai – because he did not take Picasso’s advice. He rather listened to Kertesz and chose the camera over paint brushes.
Man Ray – master surrealist who didn’t accept reality and created his own instead. Take for example Rayographs.
Robert Doisneau – my favorite photographer. When I look at the photographs he left for us, I feel like walking with my camera and mingling with people on the street where everyone is equal. He was a jolly fellow with a beautiful heart. By studying his work, I have learned the process of working a photograph until it comes together in the viewfinder. Which rarely happens.
Where did you take the photo? Is the subject a stranger? Was she being playful, shy, or something else?
This photo is from my “Cul-de-sac” project. My son and his friends were playing on my left and I was photographing them. I noticed the girl coming towards us with her hands misplaced. This was her creative expression of standing out from the crowd and being herself. I think she was being playful.
How did you decide which images to enter into the contest? What made you choose this photo?
Reason 1 – the rules of the contest forced me somewhat to choose this photo as the majority of my photography is New York City. Reason 2 – I had just taken this photo recently and I love it. I think it is one of the better photos I’ve taken to date, and I am thankful to Susana Raab for liking it.
You can see more of Kashif’s photography on his website.