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Construction Photography Contest Judging Is Challenging And Rewarding

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This issue of ENR showcases the winners of our 12th annual Year in Construction photo contest. We are delighted to share the results. Delivering the contest winners is like building a fine watch for five months by selecting just 38 pieces from 1,564 parts. We are indebted to this year' judges for crafting this outstanding result.

We seat new judges every year to gain fresh eyes. And we seek expertise from inside and outside the ENR staff. The judges have one marathon session in December to see all the entries and rank them for attractiveness, interest and impact. The top-scoring photos start on p. 28 and can be viewed in a gallery on ENR.com. Runners-up also are showcased in a separate gallery there.

This year's panel included Michael Falco, a widely published photographer who has shot covers for ENR and published two books of his work. Falco was a "technical" judge at first, explaining techniques used in some of the more complex shots, but he grew more invested in championing winners as the field was narrowed down. "The images were quite impressive—inspiring actually," Falco says. "The quality of work, and especially the various projects depicted, could make even a professional jealous."

Luke Abaffy, ENR's multimedia editor, who managed the judging, speaks of the difficulty of sorting down. "As we sat in the dark room looking at projected images, we almost went into a trance state. No one was talking and simple noises indicated yay or nay. It took four rounds to cull the winners and runners-up. We wanted them all to win."

Sam LaForte, site safety manager for the Hunt Construction Group's Barclays Center project in Brooklyn, N.Y., was the safety expert to steer judges away from celebrating images with unsafe conditions. Debra Rubin, ENR editor-at-large for business and management, provided an ENR insider's eye, but even she, who has seen so many construction photos at ENR, hailed the submissions as showing "amazing work and creativity" and portraying an unusual cross section of construction around the world.

Another invited judge, William Taylor, director of creative services for McGraw-Hill Construction, says the experience "was a special privilege, providing unique insight into the industry." He found that the time flew thanks to "the quality of the images and the fascinating content." Because the panel included graphics, photography, editorial and safety professionals, he says, "the winning selections had to ring the bell" on many levels.

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