Juror’s Choice winner Edson Scudder finds that his best photographs come from unexpected moments. The son of an amateur photographer, his long-held interest in photography has begun to grow only in the past few years. To improve his work, he made a habit of taking the same two or three mile walk through his neighborhood with camera in hand. At first, the pictures Scudder took on these walks were almost random, but he recognized that this repetition was developing his eye as a photographer. This habit of regular shooting taught him “to see both the new and the same things in different ways; to look down as well as up and around, to be mindful of detail and light.”
Evolving from that early process, Scudder now utilizes a mixture of planning and spontaneity in his work. Although not discounting the importance of planning his shoots, he finds that his best photographs still come from unexpected moments. As he puts it, “often the best pictures come from simply always being ready – having my camera with me and staying alert to the moment.”
His winning image, Priscilla, was one of those perfectly spontaneous moments: Scudder was ready with his camera in the right place at the right time. He chose to snap the shutter at that moment because the expression of the subject – his mother - was a very intense yet natural pose. The events surrounding the image were somber and personal.
[W]e were driving home after meeting with her doctor, the day he confirmed that she was terminally ill and had only a few months to live. … With so many images rushing past, she is the still center of that moment, enigmatic, private. She passed away less than 60 days after I took this picture.
Juror's Choice image, Priscilla
As an emerging photographer, Scudder’s definition of success is evolving along with his craft. He began with small steps, creating work he felt was worthy of a submission, receiving positive feedback, and slowly shifting his mentality from hobbyist to artist. “This is a new way of seeing myself and I am both encouraged and inspired by it.” As recipient of the Juror’s Choice award, he has taken another step towards artistic success.