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Best of ASMP 2012

Choosing twenty finalists from more than 150 projects submitted for the eighth annual Best of ASMP was a challenging task. The quality of work was overwhelmingly strong, and this year a record number of the submitted projects received a rating of four or above in a scale of one to five. Submissions came in from most of ASMP’s 39 chapters, along with several strong international candidates. In 2012, Best of ASMP finalists are all over the map, with image makers hailing from 12 different chapters in addition to international finalists from Mexico and Japan.


Reviewing all the entries were Best of ASMP 2010 finalist Herbert Ascherman and ASMP Bulletin editor Jill Waterman, who pooled their individual responses to arrive at the 20 finalists. Every project was individually evaluated on its own merits and assigned a numeric rating, and these were tallied to arrive at a shortlist. While the high caliber of submitted materials was of utmost importance, finalist rounds extended to a thorough review of each photographer’s website.


According to Ascherman, “the essence of the Best of ASMP is the recognition of those members who have produced singular commercial or conceptual projects. Two-thirds of the submissions we reviewed were assignments that bordered on logistical and creative impossibilities. The remaining one-third included personal projects that grew from the experience and interest of the photographer. Conceptual projects are much more difficult to evaluate than commercial, as they often fail to translate into a visual vocabulary that is easily understood by both judges and viewers. Personal projects should be specific and detailed enough in their undertaking and execution that they are broadly applicable to the membership and viewers in general.”


In 2012, our finalists’ projects have a broad technological and creative reach, from 360-degree interactive VR scenes and HDR panoramas that bring Mexico’s finest new retail store to life for customers (shot while the store was still under construction), to nostalgic movie production stills from the sets of historic Merchant Ivory films. Amy C. Elliott’s documentation for The American Legion and Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber’s work for the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants are leading examples of projects incorporating both video capture and stills, mirroring current industry trends. One hopeful observation about submissions received this year is an increase in projects with humanitarian or social engagement aspects — a notable trend for visual communicators with important stories to tell.


We sincerely thank everyone who responded to this year’s call for projects and heartily congratulate the 20 finalists. Please plan ahead for next year — the deadline will be here before you know it.