We’re happy to announce the second of six winners of our inaugural Best In Show prizes for the 8th annual Exposed DC Photography Show. We invited a panel of distinguished Washington-area photojournalists to, in their esteemed opinion, pick their favorite photograph from our group of 49 images. Each Best In Show winner receives a $100 prize made possible by the Corcoran College of Art + Design.
Today’s Best in Show image is the moody “Carnival Giraffe” by Erika Nizborski. Congrats Erika! Her photo was chosen by judge Dan Westergren, Director of Photography for National Geographic Traveler.
Exposed: Can you give us some background on this photo, where was it taken, why was there a giant giraffe on a trailer, and what were you doing there?
Nizborski: My photo titled Carnival Giraffe is part of a larger photo series called The Hyattsville Project which I have been working on for about one year now. It’s a personal project that I have assigned myself in which I document my neighborhood. Carnival Giraffe was shot in Magruder Park on Hyattsville Day 2013. One day each spring the city comes together for a parade that starts on one side of town and ends at Magruder Park where a carnival then takes place. I was leaving the carnival and I spotted the giraffe in the parking lot with the street light behind it. I thought it was really strange, why didn’t the giraffe statue make it into the carnival? I was also drawn to the amazing light coming from behind it. I had my tripod with me, because I was taking other nighttime long exposures, so I set it up and took a few frames. I have also made it a rule to shoot this entire project on black and white film. I have found that with my professional work (which I only shoot with a digital camera) I sometimes end up taking far more images than I would ever need for one event. By shooting film for this project I am teaching myself to slow down. Film isn’t cheap and I only get 12 frames per roll, so I am very conservative with it.
Exposed: Your Flickr photos are funny and odd street scenes like this photo, but your professional work is weddings and portraits. How do you merge these two styles?
Nizborski: I haven’t ever thought of merging my professional work with my personal work before. They are very different. I am a wedding, event, and portrait photographer by day, and I like to think of my personal projects as assignments to strengthen my eye and craft. In my line of work capturing moments is a must, so I am constantly looking out for them.
Exposed: Dan Westergren awarded your prize. Do you read National Geographic Traveler and are you familiar with his work?
Nizborski: When I saw that I was one of the photographers that won the Best in Show I was honored and thrilled! I saw that Dan Westergren had voted for my photo. I read National Geographic Traveler from time to time, and while I did not immediately recognize his name, as soon as I pulled his website up I recognized his work. While his style and subjects are far different than mine, I see that his work relies heavily on moments as well. The whole experience of being a part of Exposed DC has really inspired me so far.