2015 PDN Top 30

If you want to be featured in PDN’s Top 30 your best bet is either to be born in the USA or to go and live there, as do I think all but about six of this year’s crop (and two of that six are in Vancouver, which only around 30 miles over the border.) Having said that, there is still much interesting photography, and, perhaps unsurprisingly some of the more interesting is from those four more distant. Give yourself plenty of time and go and enjoy.

Rather than otherwise influence you on the work of this years pick I thought it would be interesting to revisit the Top 30 of ten years ago, 2005, and begin by asking how many of those featured you have heard of. It’s hard to be entirely sure, but for me I think the answer perhaps five or six, but most seem to be having succesful careers if not becoming household names:

Kevin Cooley
Cig Harvey
Mark Zibert
Andrew Zuckerman
Christa Renee
Matt Stuart
Jesse Chehak
Eri Morita
Farah Nosh
Chris Mueller
Eric Ogden
Joao Canziani
Colby Katz
Dave Anderson
Jehad Nga
Erik Almas
Jessica Todd Harper
Hayley Harrison
Karine Laval
Steve Giralt
Casper Dalhoff
Emily Nathan
Carlos Rios
Matthew Pillsbury
William Mebane
Masood Kamandy
Kareem Black
William Lamson
Gina Levay
Karim Ben Khelifa

I’ve also tried to link them to their current web sites, though there may in some cases be confusion with other photographers of the same name. Two presented a problem – I couldn’t find a site for Hayley Harrison and although there are many links to work by Khalim Ben Khelifa I could not find an actual web site. And be warned that even on a high-speed broadband connection some of these sites are slow to load. Too many still have huge flash downloads.

This year’s crop give a little advice to others on the web site, and I’d like to add another small piece of possible wisdom. If you want to be remembered as a photographer, choose a good and memorable name. If like me you have a very common name it will not help in your career. And simply because you were blessed by your parents with something simple shared by thousands of others there is no reason to use that as your professional name.

I share my name with at least three other photographers (a confusion that has led to me being refused credit by one photography retailer and threats of bodily harm by an extremist right-wing organisation – I’m not sure what it has done for the other guys), a very well known preacher and his son, various sporting heroes (I don’t even swim or squash and gave up footy long since), the author of some great books, a journalist and  acouple of radio and TV personalities, a police chief, several professors, a breeder of ferrets and thousands more.

Somewhat surprisingly if I put my name into Google (I don’t make a habit of vanity searching, but have just done so as ‘research’ for this post) I find I come up in 14th, 17th and 24th position underneath two featured posts and some images, none of which are of me. On going to Google Images and searching well down the page I do find myself twice, as well as 38 taken by me, among the seven or eight hundred featured. They seem to include a couple of copyright violations, though I think neither worth chasing.

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