In this spring's contest, the themes were "comfort," "mystique," and "waste," and we received 191 entries. Somewhat surprisingly, the "mystique" category received almost as many entries (78) as "comfort" (79). The winners were chosen by the Reader staff, with the assistance of freelance photographer Brian Barkley and Reader art critic Steve Banks. Thanks to everyone who sent in their photographs.
The "comfort" category was, as expected, dominated by pictures of children and pets, but the best entries were marked by a combination of sensitivity, authenticity, and artfulness. And Jon-Michael Graham's stunningly ambiguous photograph of a pacifier jumped out immediately and became even more interesting the longer we looked at it.
Winners from the "mystique" category found mystery and foreboding in subjects that by themselves seem benign. And in "waste," Kristina Dinquel's winning entry beautifully captured the disappointment and sadness tied up in an image of a crumbling home.
Gary A. Meier