9:06 am

Favorite Editorial Photos of 2010

Every year as I get ready for contests and take a look back at last years work to see where I can improve or experiment more, I try to widdle down the thousands of photos I submit for publication to a few photos. I usually try to get this done by the end of the first week in January but I've had a busy January while learning to be a full time freelance photographer.

Here is a look at some of my favorite editorial photographs I created in 2010. If you have an opinion on them please leave a comment below or if you would like to know more about a photo leave me a note.

2010 Favorites - Images by Tim Norman

2:06 pm

The Best of Isn't Good Enough

As I prepare to create a post Favorite Not Best Photos of 2001 imageincluding some of my favorite photos from 2010 there is something that bugs me about seeing the "Best of" postings around the internet that get posted on photographer websites, media blogs, and twitter and facebook postings.

As defined by Webster.com

best adj \'best\     superlative of good

1 : excelling all others <the best student>
2 : most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction <what is the best thing to do>
3 : most, largest <it rained for the best part of their vacation>

Best is a definitive term but photographs are subjective. As much as a photojournalist tries to be objective in the moment of taking a photograph everything around them changes how and what they produce. Heck a photographer’s existence can influence without intention a subject’s actions and reactions.

Admittedly I've fallen into the trap of “Best of” postings myself and so do many photographers and companies as they try to quantify a previous year. I edit the thousands of photos I created down to a few every year not for the joy of it because honestly it ends of being a bit agonizing and difficult to decide which of your children to leave out of your "best". I do it to get ready to enter a couple photo competitions and because I want to display good examples of my work from the past year in one spot. It also helps me learn how well I did and where I need to explore and improve.

Every year I shave the selection down to about 40 and then it becomes exceedingly more difficult to separate out photos that are technically good from photographs I like for one reason or another. Perhaps it was the obstacle I maneuvered, the adventure I took, or the feeling I had when I took a photograph but I often find those reasons coloring my final selections.

In one of my first portfolios back in college as I was searching for my first real paying staff photography job, I had one photograph in it that I wasn't in love with but everyone around me said was one of my best. I took the photo on a trip to Las Vegas with the the Bowling Green State University football team as they prepared to play in a bowl game. One of the Flying Elvi parachuted into a pep rally near a Las Vegas landmark and I captured it in black and white. I liked the photo, but I wasn't sure it was one of my best. Their comments influenced me to keep it in my portfolio.

So best? What is this "best" thing. When I'm editing my own work technical merits come into play but so does the emotion of the moment. Whether it is the emotion held by the photograph or the emotion I'm having at that moment in time. There are days when I prefer the happy photos and there are others when I prefer the sad photos. It is all subjective. Even the technical merits can be argued by those who want to delve deep into why a photos is technically good.

I judged a local monthly photo competition a couple years ago that one of my friends judged a few months prior. After the competition was over I was asked by several entrants why I had chosen one of the images as a winner. It turned out a contestant entered the same photograph of a lily in a vase on a black background into both competitions. From me I judged it as one of the award winners because I liked the use of lines and the contrast of the black and white. To my friend it wasn't even in the final selection and knowing this individual I know he doesn't find photographs of flowers to be all that compelling.

If there is one thing I've learned from being a judge and watching judging is that the final selection is subjective. Sitting in a darkened room while watching judges make their choices I’ve heard comments from seasoned veteran photographers during and afterward that disagreed with the final selection. If you sat a panel of different judges in the same room with the same photos you will discover that those same photos will not win the second time around or at the very least they will not be in the same winning order.

There was a photo a few years back that won first place that was clearly out of focus but was a decisive moment of a cycling event as a deer jumped out of the bushes and ran across the biking path. To the photographers I worked with and talked to, we were confused at what the judges saw and even wondered how it made it into the final pick. All we saw was that it was out of focus from movement of the camera or not being focus sharp in camera. Was the decisive moment enough to put it above the rest of photographs for that category?

I’ve personally had photographs that win first place in the Ohio Newspaper Photographs Association monthly contest but in the annual competition are dismissed in the first round of editing by the judges. I’ve even had a photograph I loved which did not place at all in monthly competition but took second place in the annual competition.

Judges are subjective. So are photographers when we make our selections. We are affected by our environment, our emotions and our subject’s emotions as we create the photographs. It is natural that despite all good intentions of bringing objectivity to it that our favorite photographs are subjectively chosen from the moment we click the shutter. So best is really the wrong terminology to use. I understand why though. It was started decades ago because It is descriptive and more definitive term than saying “Favorite Photos of 2010” or “Top Posts of 2010”.

I’ll try not to let it ruffle my feathers, but everyone should know the best isn’t the best all the time. They are simply someone’s favorites of the moment.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

8:00 pm

Remembering MLK

I photographed a Martin Luther King, Jr. remembrance celebration earlier today in Dublin, Ohio. The event always starts out with a portion of the Let Freedom Ring speech by King. It is a great speech and they would play the entire speech or perhaps have it playing in the lobby before and after the event. The event always makes me want to hear more of King's speeches. I'm betting there is a place to find them somewhere online.

Here are some photos from the event as well as a video I created. 

Martin Luther King 2011 - Images by Tim Norman

Remembering MLK in Dublin, Ohio from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

A collection of segments from the Dublin Community Remembrance Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Dublin, Ohio on January 17, 2011. The event took place in the auditorium at Dublin Jerome High School.

10:21 pm

Sounds of the Season

Here are a collection of quick videos I shot from different events I've photographed over the past month. I couldn't find something to do with them so I thought I would put them together as a collection of Christmas season videos. Enjoy.


Also a note, I'm starting to use html5 to embed the videos so I hope this works for everyone.

German Village from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

Performs play during the Village Lights in German Village on Sunday, December 5, 2010. Luminaries lined many of the streets in German Village where people took advantage of the carriage rides, caroling and other activities during the event.

Horse Drawn Carriage from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

Max Spangler and Carol Oakley drive a carriage from Heinlein Carriage Service in the Mariner's Cove subdivision on Sunday, December 19, 2010. Spangler's horses are named Ally (right) and Maggie (left).

Clintonville Community Choir from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

The Clintonville Community Choir sings during the Clintonville Christmas Tree Lighting event presented by the Clintonville Rotary at the Park of Roses Shelter House at Whetstone Park, 3901 North High Street, on Sunday, December 19, 2010.

Olentangy Liberty Tree Elementary Children's Chorus from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

Lori Walls leads the Olentangy Liberty Tree Elementary Children's Chorus during a performance at the Columbus Zoo's "Sounds of the Seasons" event on Monday, December 20, 2010.

9:45 am

Maryland Celebrates 60

I had an assignment to photograph the 60th birthday celebration for Maryland Elementary School in Bexley yesterday. It wasn't a strong visual assignment so I decided to shoot some video. The video below is what came of it. I would have loved to include more of the singing by the students, but I felt I was exceeding the video length I wanted to arrive at for a video piece like this. None the less the piece allowed me to work on hand holding the camera while panning and zooming. I'm thankful for the image stabilization on the Canon 70-200 lens which removed the shaking but didn't help with a bit of the movement.


Maryland Elementary Turns 60 from Tim Norman on Vimeo.

Maryland Elementary School in Bexley, Ohio celebrates turning 60 years old with a birthday celebration including a proclamation from the Bexley mayor and songs by students.

join my mailing list
* indicates required

Find me at

Search Photo Archive

Check out these books: