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Photographer Of The Year Shoot-Out 2005

To see all the entries for each photographer, click on image or gallery link! More photos of the photographers at work coming soon!


Strong Finish: A rainy day in Coney Island didn't keep Mike Peters from getting wonderful people shots. "If I were to do this over, the only thing I'd do differently is to carry less stuff," Peters said. "My shoulder is really sore."
Mike's Gallery

From a collection of preserved butterflies he’d recently bought, Soo plucked one and placed it on the model’s shoulder. Glass blocks and a tiny smoke machine were also among Soo’s gear. “For me, preparation is an important step,” he said.

Jackamets and Peters didn’t buy any special equipment for the Shoot-Out, though Jackamets did train.

“I didn’t know what the assignments would be,” he said. “But every other day for the past few weeks, I created photo jobs for myself to stay sharp.”

The Photoshop factor
Jackamets also upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS2 on his laptop. Like the others, Jackamets considers himself quite proficient with the software.

“Photoshop, though, is just a tool,” he said. “And really just a minor one. Photoshop doesn’t retouch ideas.”

Peters hardly used it. And Soo created effects in-camera as much as possible. While his portrait of the model in “water” shows a heavy Photoshop hand, his other work is more edited than manipulated.

As with the others, Soo’s photos mostly reflect hard work. All of the contestants shot and edited into the early-morning hours. “I got only one hour of sleep each night,” said Soo. His obsessive attention to detail helped Soo capture each assignment to the letter, and gave his images a consistency of vision and technical quality that impressed the judges and put him over the top.

As the editors of Pop Photo said in their final judgment, “It seemed we could throw anything at Michael—a model, a watermelon, an unfamiliar city, a horse track on a rainy day, and with impossible deadlines—and he’d get outstanding, amazing, photos.”

That’s what it takes to be Photographer of the Year!

Details on entering the 2006 competition will appear in the December issue.

The Four Assignments: A test or torture?
These assignments were designed to challenge the photographers in a wide range of situations demanding a wide range of skills. Our editors’ ultimate goal: determine who is the best all-around shooter.

The photographers were completely unaware of the assignments until the morning of each shoot. Each assignment was due within 24 hours as either prints or files on a CD. (All submitted CDs.) The photographers could use their own gear or whatever we had on hand in the Pop Photo Lab and Studio.

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