WPJA Contest Judges

When you hear the expression “our esteemed panel of judges” used on tawdry television game shows, you may wonder at the elevated description. But when the WPJA describes its roster of contest judges as esteemed, we’re not just blowing our own horn.

Tops in Their Profession

WPJA's International cast of distinguished judges works at the very pinnacle of the profession. You’ve seen their photos on the pages of the largest and most respected newspapers and magazines in the world. They’ve been on the front lines of battlefields and of other wars against infectious diseases, poverty, and hunger. Most are educating the next generation of great photojournalists. It's no wonder that they are held in high regard by their peers throughout the field of photojournalism.

Not Wedding Photographers

What do all these elite photojournalists, whose bios below make for a very long page, have in common? None of them are wedding photographers.

Their Decisions Are Fair

What sets WPJA’s contests apart from those run by other wedding photography organizations is that we never, in the 15 years of our existence, have used our members to judge one another’s work, and we never will. The decision has nothing to do with competence, because we have many members who are eminently qualified to serve as contest judges. Rather, our position is based on fairness. The use of highly qualified outside judges keeps our panels free from even a hint of bias.

Fair and Unbiased Wedding Photo Contest Judging

They Deserve Our Thanks

It is not an overstatement to say that WPJA’s judges make up the backbone of the association. Without them, we would not have well officiated contests, POY’s and the Badge Ranking system that is based on our members’ achievements throughout the contest year. May we never take their contributions for granted.



WPJA Judge since 2017 - Justin Merriman is a freelance photojournalist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a founding member of American Reportage, a collective of documentary photojournalists specializing in comprehensive storytelling of the American experience. After covering the September 11, 2001, crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Merriman committed to chronicling the... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Gina has been a staff photographer with the Los Angeles Times since 1994. Her Wildfire photos were part of the staff Pulitzer Prize win for Breaking News in 2004. Other recent awards include: Best of Photojournalism 2007: Second Place - Natural Disaster Single, 61st Pictures of the Year 2004: Second Place - Spot News; Award of Excellence - News Photo Story; Award of... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Bob Carey's passion for photography began in high school and has spanned over four decades. His love for capturing moments in time led him to a career in photojournalism, and for the past 12 years, he has dedicated himself to developing photographers. As chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., Carey shares... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2004 - Annie Wells is photographer known for her photojournalism work at the Los Angeles Times, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and the San Francisco bureau Associated Press. Wells won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for her photograph of firefighter Don Lopez rescuing 15-year-old Marglyn Paseka from the flooded Matanzas Creek in Sonoma County, California. Wells... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2018 - Jen Tse is a photo editor and writer based in New York. In 2017, she was Newsweek's acting Director of Photography. Prior to Newsweek, she worked for TIME Magazine, NOOR Images, and 500px. She worked as a visual journalist and editor in Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Bangkok before moving to New York in 2015. Her photo editing, photography, writing, and... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - David H. Wells is an award-winning freelance photographer/video maker using whatever technology he can to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, Rhode Island, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light,... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Michael Ainsworth is a former staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News. A graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington, with a degree in journalism, he has won awards for his coverage of spot news and sports. He was one of the staffers at the DMN who were honored to receive the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina and it... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2004 - Tom Reese’s work as a newspaper and magazine photojournalist has been nominated for Pulitzer Prizes in Breaking News Photography, Feature Photography and Explanatory Reporting during his career at The Seattle Times. Currently he is an independent photographer, editor and teacher in Seattle, Washington. His recent books and projects focus on the complex relationship between... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Ken Geiger has been a visual and technology leader in global media organizations, serving nearly 12 years with National Geographic Magazine as Deputy Director of Photography. Previously, he was Director of Photographer for the Dallas Morning News and most recently as Director of Photography for the Nature Conservancy. Ken's career... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Bill Frakes is a photographer and filmmaker has worked in more than 138 countries for a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. His advertising clients include Nike, Coca-Cola, Champion, Isleworth, Stryker, IBM, Nikon, Kodak, and Reebok. Editorially, his work has appeared in virtually every major general interest publication in the world. Bill won the coveted... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Dennis Brack is past President of the White House News Photographers Association. Brack has won awards from the National Newspaper Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association and the World Press Association. Brack is also the secretary/ treasurer of the United States Senate Standing Committee of Press Photographers. This six member committee... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Renée C. Byer is an award-winning documentary photojournalist and Emmy nominated multimedia field producer best known for her in-depth work focusing on the disadvantaged and those who otherwise would not be heard. Her ability to produce photographs with profound emotional resonance and sensitivity earned her the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 2007 and dozens of... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Ross Taylor is a Denver-based freelance photographer and filmmaker. He's also an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. While at CU Boulder he has been one of two faculty fellows in the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy. Previously he was a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the inaugural... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Preston Gannaway (b. 1977) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer and artist. Her work often focuses on intimate stories about American families and marginalized communities while addressing themes such as gender identity, class and our relationship to the natural world. The story she did on the St. Pierre family, Remember Me, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Carol Guzy is a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with The Washington Post, the only journalist honored with that extraordinary achievement. She was the first woman to receive the Newspaper Photographer of the Year Award in 1990. Guzy received her most recent Pulitzer in 2011 for up-close portraits of grief and desperation after a catastrophic earthquake struck... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - David Stephenson is a freelance photojournalist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Journalism and Media. After hopscotching to jobs across the country for five years after graduating from WKU, Stephenson returned to his native Lexington and joined the staff of the Herald-Leader in 1997. He then left to join the Kentucky Kernel in 2009... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Photojournalist Mary F. Calvert is committed to using photography to effect meaningful social change and is known for producing work on gender-based human rights issues. Calvert believes that journalists have a duty to shine a light into the deepest recesses of the human experience and provide a mirror for society to examine itself. For her work on sexual assault in the US... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Yonathan Weitzman (born 1977) is an award-winning freelance photojournalist based in Israel. Having previously worked with Corbis, Reuters and the daily newspaper, Haaretz, Yonathan has also had photographs in magazines including: Stern, Newsweek, The Observer, Time, and View. In 2005, he was working as a cameraman for Reuters Television documenting the former Jewish... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Martha Rial first fell in love with the power and grace of photography as a teenager studying images in Life and Look magazines. Her desire to tell compelling stories has taken her from the mountains of Haiti, to African villages, to the streets of her hometown of Pittsburgh. Her photographs have received international acclaim, including a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Susan Walsh matriculated at Boston University hoping to become an aerospace engineer. However, her first semester Ds in physics and calculus led her looking for classes that would improve her grade point average. Her work in a second semester basic photography course won her an A and a new interest. She continued taking photography classes... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Jon Lowenstein is a native of Brookline, MA and a graduate of the University of Iowa (1993). For the last decade, Jon has been a freelance photojournalist. He has been published in Time, US News & World Report, Fortune, The New York Times, and Mother Jones, to name a few. In 1998 Jon was Region 5 POY for the NPPA. In 2001 he was Magazine Photographer of the Year in the... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Denny Simmons, who earned his bachelors degree in journalism at the University of Missouri, is a senior photojournalist and visuals content coach with the Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Press and The Gleaner (Henderson, Kentucky). His past positions include picture editor at the News-Sun in Waukegan, Illinois; picture editor at the St. Joseph (Missouri) News-Press... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - David Burnett is a photojournalist with more than 5 decades of work covering the news, the people, and visual tempo of our age. He is co-founder of Contact Press Images, the New York based photojournalism agency, now entering its 42nd year. In a recent issue of American Photo magazine, Burnett was named one of the "100 Most Important People in Photography." In... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Through documentary photography, Andrea Bruce brings attention to people living in the aftermath of war. Andrea is currently based in Afghanistan. For eight years she has chronicled the world's most troubled areas as a staff photographer for The Washington Post. She focused on Iraq from 2003 to the present, following the intricacies and obstacles of the conflict... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Denis Finley is the editor of The Virginian-Pilot, a 200,000 circulation daily newspaper. In the position of deputy managing editor for presentations, Denis guided The Virginian-Pilot to recognition by the Society for News Design as one of the world's best designed newspapers in 2001. Denis has twice been a Pulitzer Prize juror, judging breaking news photography and... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Seth Resnick is one of North America's most prolific corporate, editorial and stock photographers. Seth is greatly in demand for his beautiful graphic images in both natural and created light. Resnick has been published in the world's most prestigious magazines. His credits include over 2,500 publications worldwide and his clients constitute a virtual list of... Read more

(February 9, 1951 - April 23, 2015) - Mark Edelson was Presentation Editor at The Palm Beach Post, where he worked with photographers, designers, reporters and editors on the packaging of stories throughout the paper. He joined The Post as a picture editor in 1993, and was named Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year eight times. He was also the lead picture editor or designer for the Post team... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Mary Vignoles, a freelance picture editor based in Oregon, helps photographers with idea generation and story telling though the fine tuning of focus and direction. She edits the work, portfolios, and websites of photojournalists as well as commercial and fine arts photographers ranging from students to seasoned professionals. In 16 years as an award-winning professional... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2004 - Will Yurman, an award-winning and innovative photojournalist with more than two decades of professional experience, joined the Department of Journalism in January 2011. Before coming to Penn State, he worked 10 years as a staff photographer and multimedia producer for the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. He previously worked for The Observer Dispatch in Utica, N.Y... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Al Bello graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from the University of New York at Stony Brook in 1989. Since Joining Allsport/Getty, Al has become Chief Sports Photographer in North America on a very talented staff and is assigned to cover sporting events and people in sports worldwide. He has worked on editorial assignments for Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine,... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Torsten Kjellstrand is a staff photojournalist at The Oregonian. He previously worked as a staff photojournalist at The Herald in Jasper, Indiana and at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. In 1995, he was named POY Newspaper Photographer of the Year. He was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University in 2003-4. Torsten graduated from Carleton College with an English... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2018 - Janet Jarman works as a photojournalist and filmmaker based in Mexico, where she documents issues such as immigration and public health issues, water resource problems and solutions, Mexico’s vibrant traditions and the region's ongoing security issues. Jarman’s work has been published in The New York Times, GEO, Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, Stern, Der... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Melissa Lyttle has been a photojournalist for the St. Petersburg Times since 2005, where she is committed to documenting the lives of people in her community. Before working for the Times, Lyttle interned at newspapers in Florida, South Carolina and Michigan. A native of Florida, she began her career at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel after earning her Bachelor of Science... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Brian Lanker has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his feature photography. He was named National Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1970 and again in 1976. His work for LIFE Magazine and Sports Illustrated has received numerous honors around the world. He presently divides his time between editorial/advertising still photography and motion... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Walter Astrada was born in 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1996, he started his career as staff photographer in La Nacion newspaper (Argentina). During 1999 he traveled around Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Peru developing a personal project on "Faith". In September 1999, he joined Associated Press in Bolivia and later in Argentina. From 2000 to 2002 he worked... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Massimo Mastrorillo was born in Turin and lives in Rome. He has been working essentially with geographical and social reportage cooperating with various magazines in Italy and Europe (Espresso, D di Repubblica, Geo France, Meridiani, Neon, Panorama, Sunday Telegraph, Internazionale ecc.). Massimo worked on long term projects about the Kurdish Diaspora and the poverty in... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Tiffany Brown has had a lifelong passion for photography. A news photographer with a distinct point of view, an eye for detail and a sense of humor, Tiffany digs into stories to inform her work and provide viewers with something more than straight news photographs – whether it’s casino workers losing their longtime jobs to the “... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2017 - Jake May, 30, is an editorial photographer who lives in Flint, Mich. His work on the city's ongoing water crisis was honored as a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Feature Photography, as well as a 2016 SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award in Feature Photography. His portfolio was also recognized twice by the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2011 - Gary Porter is currently a freelance photographer specializing in documentary, photojournalism, travel and editorial. He is a recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for the story of an epic effort to use genetic technology to save a 4-year-old boy imperiled by a mysterious disease, told with words, graphics, videos and other images. Gary Porter... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Documentary photographer Kristen Ashburn is based in New York City. She has received numerous honors including an Emmy Award nomination (2007), the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club of America (2007), a Getty Grant (2006), National Press Photographers Association's (NPPA) Best of Photojournalism (2007, 2006, 2003), Pictures of the Year (POY-2007), and two... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Peter Power is a Toronto-based award-winning professional photographer with an emphasis on editorial and corporate portraits and story-telling. With a wealth of carefully cultivated experience that draws on three decades of work in Canada and abroad, Power is widely considered among the top visual story-tellers in Canada with photography and journalism skills honed from... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Lisa Krantz has been a staff photographer at the San Antonio Express-News since March 2004. In the spring of 2018, Lisa was an Adjunct Profession at Texas A&M-San Antonio. Previously she worked at the Naples, Florida, Daily News for five years. Among her notable honors, she was a 2018 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize</a> in Feature Photography. She received the... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Jim Gerhz is a freelance journalist who previously worked as a staff photographer for newspapers including the Worthington (Minnesota) Daily Globe; the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel; the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (both Minnesota). In 2005, his photo story about a female solder who was critically injured in Iraq was noinated as a final... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2009 - Loup Langton currently serves as Director of the Visual Journalism program at the University of Miami's School of Communication and as a member of the Pictures of the Year International Inaugural Advisory Board. His career reflects a balance between creative and research work with a particular passion for Latin America. His book, Photojournalism and Today's News... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Stephanie Sinclair graduated from the University of Florida, with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Fine Art Photography. She was hired by the Chicago Tribune after college where she worked for five years. After covering the war in Iraq, Stephanie quit her job and moved to Iraq and then Beirut, Lebanon to work out of the region. She has since been published in Time,... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Joe Weiss has worked as a photojournalist, multimedia reporter, designer, programmer, producer and editor in print and online media since 1996. He is currently an independent interactive producer and the developer of Soundslides, a multimedia authoring application for journalists. Previously he was an interactive producer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2007 - Pulitzer Prize winner David Leeson is a Dallas-based photojournalist and visual artist, freelancing in still and video photography. He worked as a newspaper photographer from 1977 to 2008. Leeson was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times prior to winning the award in 2004 for photographs made for The Dallas Morning News during the war in Iraq. He has also won two... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Eric Strachan is a freelance photographer and graphic designer based in Naples, Florida. Formerly, he was the senior managing editor at the Naples Daily News in Southwest Florida, where he started as a staff photographer in 1981. He has won numerous awards as a picture editor and photographer in the NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Pictures of the Year International, Florida... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Amanda Voisard is a Washington, D.C. based multimedia journalist who specializes in social issue short-form documentaries. Her assignments have ranged from wading through chest deep waters in search of residents devastated by hurricane Sandy, documenting the struggle of the Havasupai during their fight to protect their homeland from uranium mining, to photographing in... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - John Scanlan was the Director of Photography for the Hartford Courant newspaper (CT-USA). Over the past 30 years The Hartford Courant, a 144,000 daily circulation newspaper, has earned a national reputation for its photography and design. John began his photojournalism career as a U.S. Army photographer - 1968 through 1972. He served in both Vietnam (1969) and Germany (... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2004 - John Kaplan is one of America's most accomplished photographers, having been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, POY National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, the Overseas Press Club Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant. John has been featured on the PBS’ program, Now with Bill Moyers, on CNN, and on NPR’s... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Kathleen Flynn is a founding member of American Reportage. She is currently the Multimedia Photography and Design Fellow at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She comes to the fellowship with more than 15 years as a working journalist, including a decade at the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) and three years at... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2008 - Yunghi Kim is a freelance photographer based in New York. For 12 years, she was a staff photographer at the Boston Globe, and the Patriot Ledger in Quincy Massachusetts. She was a member of Contact Press Images from 1995 to 2008. Kim has covered conflicts all over the world, as well as worked on many in-depth issue-driven stories where intimate storytelling and giving a... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2004 - Ann Johansson is a Los Angeles based corporate and editorial photographer specializing in documenting people and their environments around the world. Ann's success is attributed to her low-key approach combined with her exceptional eye and ability to connect with people. Ann also takes the time to work on personal projects looking at social issues such as Sierra Leone... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2006 - Damon Winter joined the staff of the New York Times in May 2007 after working as a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times. He has previously worked for The Dallas Morning News, Newsweek, Magnum Photos as well as The Ventura County Star and Indianapolis Star. Damon has covered a broad range of stories including conflicts in Israel and Afghanistan, 9/11 in New York, the... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Jeanie Adams-Smith left the Chicago Tribune in 2002 to take a position at Western Kentucky University where she has shared her expertise with students in one of the nation’s premier photojournalism schools. Her 10-year career at the Tribune culminated with her in the position of national/foreign picture editor during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center,... Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Barry Chin has been a staff photographer at the Boston Globe since 1987. Prior to working at the Globe he was a staff photographer for the Boston Herald. Barry has covered the 1992, 2002 and 2004 Olympic games.Read more

WPJA Judge since 2005 - Graduated from Syracuse University in 1989. Worked as a photographer for several newspapers in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Ohio. Worked as both a picture editor and an assignments editor during her three years at the Washington Times. Joined Knight Ridder/Tribune, the 2nd largest wire service in the US, as a picture editor in March of 1999 and is now senior photo... Read more