Best News Photo
The Bunyip, Jack Hudson, “Dreams Shattered”
Hudson’s image of Virginia grower Phuong Vo amidst the wreckage of his hail-damaged glasshouse is dramatic. The hailstorm and subsequent damage to the northern Adelaide food bowl were big news and, to illustrate the story, both subject and photographer have knelt to bring the smashed glass and damaged fruit into frame whilst also providing a view of the broken ceiling overhead. The subject’s face is sharp and the composition uses the Instagram-style rule-of-thirds, placing the face dead centre of frame on the top third line. While not normally a recommended composition for newspaper imagery as editors often use negative space for titles and captions, in this instance, surrounding the farmer with his now-useless crop conveys the overwhelming hardship of his situation.
The Mt Barker Courier, Elisa Rose, “Field of Dreams”
A “good news story” filled with the bright gold of canola flowers and a happy, yet pensive farmer looking to the heavens for a little mercy. Rose’s composition uses the dead-centre rule-of-thirds alignment but the editor has been able to neatly place titles and captions around the image so that it balanced well on the front page.
Notable here is Rose’s use of lighting. The subject is positioned with the sun behind him which creates a slight edge-light and helps to pop him out of the background. An off-camera flash was used to excellent effect to light the subject’s face, angled to create facial shadows which in turn convey three-dimensionality to the image.
The Southern Argus, Sara Gilligan, “Beef with Rate Rises”
Gilligan has found a terrific subject for her story. The craggy faced farmer staring down the camera, scowling unhappily and with his arms crossed defiantly is well posed and imposing on the front page. Behind him, all the cattle are looking to camera as well, indicating good animal photography skills. The image rates highly in rural newsworthiness and impact. It would have benefitted from a squirt of off-camera flash, allowing the background to be slightly underexposed and popping the subject out of the page at the viewer.
Yorke Peninsula Country Times, Rod Penna, “Murphy’s Medal”
Excellent composition with a large area of negative space which was well used by the editor. Penna has exposed the image for the incidental lights in the deep background then brought in a flash at camera left to light his subject. A little extra light might have helped this image reach the next level. For instance, a reflector to camera right to bounce a little of the spilled flash back onto the dark side of the subject’s face, or even a second flash hidden behind the subject to create a rim-light.
The standard of entries in this year’s Best News Photograph was high and showed a number of our country photographers expanding their skillsets and equipment to produce enticing and exciting imagery for our association’s newspapers. This growth of knowledge and the adaption of new techniques in the field is vital to our industry as there are two things that get a paper picked up in the shop: a big headline and a big photo.