I walked up the street yesterday to the magnificent Hearst Building on Eighth Avenue to view the winners of the company's first major photography contest. First, let me say it was wonderful to see a big media company (with magazines like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Harper's Bazaar) stepping up to promote photography, while also enhancing its own profile as a source and patron of great photography. (I know of another media company that is bailing out of this area, but I won't say which one, for now.)
The new competition, called the Hearst 8x10 Photography Biennial, aims to find and celebrate emerging photographers. The contest's judges did a good job, and I was happy to see that a number of photographers featured in American Photo's own Emerging Artists surveys were in the Hearst show. That includes Edith Maybin (photo above).
Amid all the new art--predominated by fabricated scenes of young women exploring their identities, the standout work (at least for me) were portraits of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan by Louie Palu (above). The well-lighted work had real emotional depth, and a basis in reality, that is increasingly missing from photography.--David Schonauer