Pictures of the Year

Judging commences in the 62nd POYi contest at MU
Monday, February 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:52 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

For the next three weeks, Columbia and MU resume their tradition of hosting judging of the previous year’s best photographs.

For the 62nd year, the Pictures of the Year International competition will once again challenge visual media figures to honor colleagues within the industry.

Digital slides of images submitted by more than 1,500 photographers from around the world will be critiqued by 12 judges, four judges each week. Chosen for their active involvement within newspapers, magazines and editing, the judges have the task of whittling down more than 33,000 image files in 43 categories, to first-, second-, and third-place finishes.

The judges go through debates pertaining to ethical, access, technical and coverage issues that journalists must face to get the pictures. These debates decide the winning images.

David Rees, POYi director and head of the MU photojournalism sequence, views the competition not just as recognition for photographers but as a learning experience for photographers and viewers.

“People who prepare and enter can assess how well they’ve done within the past year,” Rees said. “For us who see the pictures, we then become better photographers.”

First-time judge Tim Rasmussen, director of photography for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, has entered the competition and won many POYi awards since 1984. He says the competition is about more than just winning awards.

“It’s a process of reviewing yourself to see if you’re improving, not what a judge thinks,” Rasmussen said.

The event is held in Tucker Forum, located in Gannett Hall at MU. POYi will run through March 9 and it is open to the public. Admission is free. More information, along with archives and winning images, can be found at

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