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Congratulations Brian Berkowitz--November 2019 PFRE Photographer of the Month!

Published: 25/11/2019
By: Brandon

Congratulations to Brian Berkowitz from New York; November 2019 Photographer of the Month! The theme this month was open (meaning any real estate photo was acceptable) and we had 53 entries from around the world. As always, a big thank you goes out to everyone who participated, and to the jurors who continue to volunteer their valuable time and thoughtful insights.

  1. Brian Berkowitz - #48
  2. Guadalupe Garza -#41
  3. Kevin Edge - #36
  4. Matt Davis - #51
  5. Jordan Powers - #46

Please feel free to view and comment on any of this month's entries here.

Here's what Brian had to say about the win:

I am truly honored to win this month. The open contest is one of the toughest and I‘m humbled. I genuinely hope that winning two of the past three months inspires people to keep growing with their work and when the hard work is put in, you will get rewarded.

This shot was the result of a day of collaboration with a fellow PFRE contributor. Jordan Powers came to NYC for a few days and got access to a west side penthouse for sale to shoot. He invited me along and this was one of the results. This was shot with a 24mm TS lens and I decided to go with a vertical orientation to emphasize the size of the widow and view.

Thanks again and I can’t wait to submit next month!

18 comments on “Congratulations Brian Berkowitz--November 2019 PFRE Photographer of the Month!”

  1. All lovely work.
    I notice that single point perspective is really getting traction now.
    About 5 years ago I read an essay by an editor of Dwell that noted they LOVE single point perspective. It went on along the lines of "If you are sending us images without any single point view images, we will not consider it." I then noted that single point was a lot less used as compared to now.
    Sadly, we have to shoot what the client has and a lot of sites leave us with scant choices. Particularly when the client says "I want to see the whole room". Sigh.

  2. Let’s connect some dots. Brian wins the September contest with an illegitimate “listing photo”. He later stated he was “shooting an event at this home”. I’m not entirely sure why someone would post an image for a real estate photography contest that wasn’t shot for any kind of property marketing???

    In the contest description, it states that the contest is “anonymous and jurors do not know who the contestants are”. That’s strange because I attended a webinar where Brian’s photo was featured and the webinar was hosted by no other than Tony Colangelo, who incidentally, collects money from Brian for his mentoring services. If this isn’t a conflict of interest, I’m not sure what is? ??

    Furthermore, the winning photo this month was talked about on the Shooting Spaces Podcast. Brian and Jordan Powers eluded to fact it wasn’t taken for the purpose of selling a home either, but rather, it was taken during a meeting they had in New York. The photos were posted on Shooting Spaces several months ago and I can only assume that certain Jurors (ahem, Tony Colangelo) knew that this was Brian’s photo.??

    This contest is completely biased and several people behind the scenes seem to be in cahoots. Zero transparency. 100% illegitimacy. Congrats to everyone!??

    I’m sure this post will be promptly removed which only implies guilt in an attempt to hide the truth.

  3. @The Whistle Blower - You got me thinking you're either a troll that is bitter about this contest not going your way, or you're someone that's sick of watching a group who moves the goalposts to work in their favour, knowing that if you post your true identity they will do everything they can to destroy your reputation amongst your peers? Either way, your comments have given me food for thought and nothing you said is untrue as I've looked into your claims.

    It does seem very interesting that a judge of the contest and "Friend of the site" has so much control and can appear to sway contest outcomes. Why does he coach clients and tell them which photos to enter and then proceed to be a judge in that contest. That alone defines the word corruption. Not to mention I believe some of the judges listed are also students of Tony's??

    The contest is losing credibility in a lot of peoples eyes in our community as it's conveniently usually awarded to one of Tony's students. Of course Tony takes all the credit and reaps all of the rewards off the backs of these entrants by gaining even more coaching opportunities. Rules are Rules so hopefully you can see both of the wins by Brian are in fact inadmissible and that perhaps Tony should take a seat from judging at a minimum. Signed....not alone.

  4. Upon a little further investigation I see Tony had also commented on Brians entry in September after featuring it in a webinar knowing who's entry it was, proving there is no such thing as anonymous entries and Tony should not have been allowed to vote for this entry let alone comment on it. I also watched a facebook interview with Brian, Tony and Rich where they even spoke about Brians first win in September. Brian admitted this image was used by Tony during the webinar (which they charge for) and Rich abruptly interrupts them claiming it sounds rigged so they change the subject pretty quick. I'm beginning to see exactly what The Whistle Blower is talking about now as I'm sure this has been common practice but we would never know about it before this proof. Shame on you guys!

  5. I can see where you are both coming from but as someone who has submitted a lot, is a contributor to PFRE and Shooting Spaces, and a coaching client of Tony and has NEVER won... I really don't see any "conspiracy" here. Maybe my work just isn't that good. I think all of the judges give great feedback and put a lot of thought into their decisions and in the end, it is a sum of all of the votes combined. Neither of you even referenced the quality of the image - which was, in my opinion, among the strongest of all of the submissions plus an intriguing subject matter (where in the rules does it say the submissions have to be for a real estate listing - by the way, that shot of Brian's WAS for a real estate listing). The judges gave fair feedback to all entries as far as I am concerned.

    My goal is to win it 3 times next year and also win photographer of the year but, if I am being realistic, I have a feeling that it is more likely that I will win only one of the photographers of the month (and that is me being overly confident). My work, as of right now, doesn't really come close to some of the submissions we get every month. If I do win, I guarantee you it will have nothing to do with the fact that I have any ties to anyone, but because I am going to work hard to make the best possible images that I can for submission. Even then, I guarantee you that others will still blow mine out of the water.

    Brian is a good friend of mine and he made it a goal to make the best work he could for submission and it paid off twice for him so far. He will probably win photographer of the month again because he makes good work. He seeks feedback often with most of his shoots. All he cares about is improving with every shoot. Even when we were shooting this listing, I was giving him crap for taking so long to make this one shot but he kept going and worked this image. Yeah, he coaches with Tony because like me, he truly cares about making better images.

    In regards to Tony, who is full of tough-love but also very kind, he would not have voted on an image if it didn't deserve it regardless of whether or not it was one of his coaching clients. I think he would literally break if he had to vote for an image that didn't fly. He does not need the glory of one of his students winning the PFRE contents to get more work or to fulfill some sense of significance. Many of his students have submitted and not won.

    I would challenge anyone who genuinely thinks things are rigged to look at all other winners of any PFRE contests and connect the dots there as well and you'll see that there really is nothing fishy going on. If someone thinks that this is financially motivated, that is laughable.

    Here are the real truths:
    1. We are "real estate photographers", not the mafia.
    2. Nobody is really capable of "destroying" anyones reputation except yourself by doing stupid things.
    3. We are a community of nerds and nobody outside of our industry cares about what we do.
    4. Technically speaking, any space you are shooting is considered real estate. That includes architecture and commercial photography. It isn't limited to spaces that are for sale.
    5. The PFRE contests are here to be motivational in nature by driving people to improve their work, bottom line. There is no money involved and there is no conspiracy.
    6. The judges vote on the work they feel is best. There are many judges and they all have different tastes. If your favorite image didn't win, it simply means your taste didn't align with the judges. Nothing more.
    7. Nobody has any time or cares enough to "rig" a contest like this. What would actually be the incentive? I mean, think about it - the stakes are way too low.

    Anyway, hopefully this was helpful. I think Brian had an awesome image as well as all of the others. I'm happy to have made it in the top 5.

  6. @Jordan Powers - I felt the same as you when I first read Whistle Blowers post until I did a little digging for myself to see what they were talking about. What I see is not so dramatic as mafia claims or conspiracy theories but rather deceit and contradiction. I don't believe the quality of his image is in question, it's more about rules not being followed by a judge and contestant which raises questions to the legitimacy and control of the contest. If there are rules posted, everyone should just be honest and follow them.

    Rule #2 was broken which states "Note that contestants are anonymous until voting is complete. Jurors do not know who the contestants are. Voting is done by entry number only" The second part of this was broken as Tony knew about his entries and even commented on one of them prior to judging. It's not that there's proof he gave all his points to Brian or not but the fact he knew it was his entry and it doesn't hurt his cause to have him win contests under his coaching and direction as he makes some claims implying his coaching has led to contest wins in the past.

    Rule #10 was broken which states "This is a residential real estate contest. Only residential images are eligible for entry" It appears Brian was not hired to photograph this space for real estate but instead it was a portfolio building opportunity. When you have all the time in the world such as on a design shoot, you're going to produce better images. You said it yourself he spent a lot of time working on one image and in Real Estate, that's just not a luxury we all have. I believe that rule applies to actually being hired to shoot a space to market for sale, not portfolio building expeditions or we'd see the quality of this contest ramp up significantly if all the arch shooters started entering.

    I wouldn't so easily dismiss this about not being financially motivated. Put 10+ coaching clients in your lap and suddenly you won't have to grind it out in the trenches much longer. Everything is financially motivated so I don't agree with your statement.

    What I saw after reading that post a couple times was not someone dreaming up conspiracy theories but someone that has an opinion outside of popular belief and these days those people get attacked by the pack for having a different spin on things. It may be a strong opinion but there are some undeniable facts that shouldn't be overlooked and at least dealt with to avoid future conflicts. I'm personally not someone who pays much attention to the contest, but rather uses the site for a wealth of information. Perhaps the contest should just be wiped away to avoid any confrontation if it's not going to have some structure and upheld rules as the honor system clearly doesn't seem to be working from a judging aspect and contributor.

    Just my two cents

  7. Congratulations Brian! You are obviously putting in the hard work because it defiantly came across in you submitted image. Like I commented to you earlier. I really enjoyed the vertical orientation. You should be proud!!

  8. Congratulations, Brian! Great photo, man. I liked this photo the first time I saw it (on your social media) and I still think it's great. Really nice space and you captured it well!

    I hate to take away from Brian's well-deserved win, but I have a couple of things to say in response to some of the commentary about Tony Colangelo.

    I will agree that we could all use a little more transparency as to how the jurors cast their votes, and specifically, what the structure is behind what exactly they are voting on. I think it would be helpful to know how that all works, and maybe there will be an update to the contest rules page that outlines these things.

    There are, I think, 9 jurors. Having spoken with a few of the jurors several times, what I know is that there are points assigned to each photo based on certain criteria, and each juror allocates his or her points to each image as they see fit. This is done in seclusion. None of the jurors talk to each other, or see each other's votes. That's the gist of it as far as I understand it. Tony is one juror. If he assigns all of his points to a single image, it would not decide the contest. Do with that what you will.

    I have gone through Tony's coaching, and it was incredibly helpful. I got A LOT better, VERY QUICKLY with his coaching. I won three PFRE Photographer of the Month contests, largely because of what he taught me. But I did not "buy" my victories. I would have to go back and count, but I lost A LOT more than three of those contests. I didn't even make the top 5 on several occasions, and many of these entries were while I was actively still being coached by Tony. I spoke with Tony about those losing photos after the fact. He had seen those photos before I submitted them to the contest. He didn't give me the votes because other images were better. He explained what my mistakes were. On more than one occasion, he has told me he flat out did not like a photo of mine. I learned from that and got better. He doesn't let anything slide when it comes to quality. As Jordan says, "tough love". Do with that what you will.

    Anonymous photos are a fairly recent rule. I've had a problem with it since it was implemented, because I am fairly certain I never submitted a photo to the contest that I hadn't previously shared in the Flickr group, on Instagram, or on my website. There is no rule that says you can only submit photos that have never seen the light of day. This day in age, that's nearly impossible. On this point, I think the rule is the problem, not the jurors. Do with that what you will.

    It takes a lot to work with Tony. A lot of dedication, a lot of time, and if you stick with it, a significant financial investment in yourself. The people who work with him over a longer term do improve their photography and their branding strategies over time. Of course they are going to win a contest every now and then. They're working on it every day.

    I earned my three POTM awards and I am very proud of them. I worked VERY hard, and dealt with a lot of frustration and disappointment in the process.

    What I would prefer to see is a community that comes together with questions and suggestions on how this could be improved. I don't think accusations of this nature are going to be effective in seeing a positive change in the contest. Instead, offer constructive, well thought-out feedback as Tony has offered us all on so many occasions. If it helped me improve, then it will help the contest improve, too.

  9. Normally, I wouldn’t touch a conversation like this. But I want to come in defense of a friend.

    Full disclosure, I’m Kevin Edge. I came in 3rd this month. I’ve been shooting RE for about 9 years and have been a client of Tony since April.

    When I first started with Tony, he made a promise that within a month I would be taking better photos. As someone who’d been doing this for a while and feeling pretty set in my ways, I was quite skeptical. But sure enough, I did. And after a couple more months, I still did. And 6+ months later, I was still improving. The photo I submitted this month would never have been impossible for me to create a year ago, and now I can. That’s what I hired him to do, and that’s what he did.

    How did he do it? Through excellent coaching. Nothing fancy or magical. No secret tips and tricks. And no secret handshake to an elite club. Instead, he started with me. He wanted to know who I was and what kind of photographer I wanted to be. And then he went through all the photography stuff. So that in the end (and in true psychiatrist fashion) he showed me that I was my best coach. That it’s really been “me”, holding myself back, thinking that this is “just real estate photography” and believing that this was all is needed or had to ever be. Through it all he’s been decent and kind. Knowledgable and insightful. Encouraging and critical. And he’s delivered on his promise to make me a better photographer, and for that I am thankful.

    The next friend I would like to defend is Brian. I’ve never met Brian. Perhaps we bumped shoulders in Vegas. I don’t know him and we may never cross paths. But he’s a damn fine photographer. His shot this month is excellent and he deserved to win. Congratulations Brian. I’m sorry if this has taken anything away from your moment. I truly wish this conversation had been saved for a better time and place.

    And finally, the I want to defend, the whistleblower. Dude, you’re totally right. This contest is not perfect. It’s heavily skewed towards more of an interior-design and architectural style. The judges, Tony included, are clearly big fans of this kind of photography and they have an obvious preference towards it. You point out something many of us has know for a long time, and I appreciate you taking he initiative to talk about it. I too have been waiting a long time to see an everyday, working real estate photographer, out on a regular shoot land that lucky shot that wins the month. And it makes me cringe, still does, to see month after month go to someone that clearly had the luxury of time, clients and opportunity to make something we just can’t in 60-90 minutes while trying to deliver 30 other shots.

    Another full disclosure, my shot was not a pure real estate shoot. My client is a stager who wanted to showcase her work to agents. The house is for sale. The agent may or may not have used the photos. (hope not) And I took some liberties cloning stuff that I couldn’t for the MLS.

    But I’m still a real estate photographer, using all my real estate tools and skills, to make the best photo I can. And had I never thought of myself as more than a real estate photographer (which is all the stager had hired me for) then I never would have known that this was the kind of shot I’m capable of making. And if by chance this photo (or any of the photos in the contest) inspired and informed another photographer on what they can do in a similar space one day, then isn’t that the whole point of what we’re doing here? Not to take lucky shots. But to try something a little bit better than what we normally do. A skill you have to learn and execute. To aim for that. Learn that. And then try to bring it back into our everyday lives.

    A fun way to do that is to pat each other on the back every once and while. Could Brandon run the contest different? Sure. Do secret ballots from a jury of experts judging your hard work suck? Just watch Michael Keaton stuffing his acceptance speech back into his pocket at the Oscars to see how much that moment can hurt.

    Brian, congratulation again on the win. Tony, thank you for being a coach and a friend. Whistleblower, keep on blowing, but let’s keep it constructive and in perspective.

    I’m rambling. Sorry for that. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  10. @ Innocent Bystander and @ The Whistle Blower ... Well, this has been quite a thread! There is much that I can say but I don't want to get inducted into a blow-by-blow, back-and-forth. I know, in my heart, that you both have made some very questionable statements and are presenting them as "undeniable facts". So, I will instead, make three comments, doing my best along the way to not sound defensive:

    1.) First and foremost, I find it galling to have my personal integrity questioned by individuals who don't have the integrity, themselves, to stand behind their claims, using their own names. Whoever you are, surely you can see the laughable irony in this, yes? What's even worse, though, is to be all but labeled as deceitful and corrupt. I've been called many things in my life, but *never once* has anyone ever even hinted at this, let alone stated it outright. I just wish you both would've felt comfortable enough to share this with me, personally and offline, rather than doing so anonymously, on a day when Brian Berkowitz should've woken up to read notes of congratulations rather than accusations. As others have already noted in this thread, I am only one of 10 jurors. It would be statistically impossible for me to steer my coaching clients to a win, even if I were to discard the moral compass that I try to live my life by. To close out my first point, I say to @Innocent Bystander, that there does not exist, within PFRE, a group of people that "will do everything they can to destroy your reputation amongst your peers." Dude, really!!??

    2.) I know that this contest is not perfect. I have voiced my concerns, at length, over the years, to both Brandon and Larry. There are many things that can be (and must be) improved, including a number of unbelievably silly rules and I'm glad that you both have shone more light on them. I know for a fact that this is a key priority for Brandon and I'm sure he will do a great job of it. That said, I would respectfully suggest that you both are seeing what you want to see when quoting rules that don't fit with your own personal sensibilities and/or for which you don't have the historical context as to why certain rules were created in the first place, many years ago.

    3.) Finally, even though I was a juror long before I was a coach, I've not really given any thought to acting as a juror in a contest where my client(s) enter a photo. As others have already noted, I know myself and my moral code and, for me, I simply KNOW that I would *NEVER* vote for a client's photo, just to be able to glean some sort of personal gain. That said, this thread has opened my eyes to the fact that my self-certainty, while filled with good intentions, is quite naive and is clearly not enough for some people. As such, I notified Brandon earlier today that, effective immediately, I will no longer act as a juror in the monthly contests, as I simply don't want to give off even a hint of impropriety. I will continue to make comments each month, as doing so is very important to me.

    That's it for me on this thread.

  11. First and foremost, congratulations Brian. A great shot and a well-deserved win. After meeting you in person last week, several of the suspicions I had about you were confirmed. (1) You work extremely hard at what you do. (2) You are constantly seeking ways to improve your craft. (3) You take great pride in your work. I like this shot. I said so in my comment. To be honest, it wasn't my #1 favorite this month, but I don't argue its absolute legitimacy as a winning image at all. Photography doesn't have "right" or "wrong" answers. This stuff is highly subjective and personal. Again, congrats on being recognized for the fruits of your labor. Well done. Keep it up! 

    Now the other part...

    Full disclosure: I am a three time POTM winner, last year's POTY winner, a former coaching client of Tony's and a current juror in these monthly contests. 

    For me, this contest has ALWAYS been (and still is) about the opportunity for our community to learn and improve from each other. Five years ago, I lacked the confidence (and frankly the skillset) to even enter an image in the contest. Like many others I'm sure, each month I read and re-read every comment and critique from the jurors with fervor. I took notes and attempted to apply the lessons I learned in my own work at every opportunity I could. After I started one-on-one coaching with Tony, I began to develop the skills, and with that, the confidence, to start entering images in the contest. In the beginning, I typically got no comments, let alone votes. I still read the feedback on every photo and tried to implement the lessons in my own work. Eventually I started getting some comments, Then some votes. Then I started to see my name as a finalist. Then I won a contest! Then it went back to no comments some months. I stopped trying to make sense of the contest each month, and just focused on learning what I could from each entry and worked my tail off to get better moving forward. I was honored when I was asked to become a juror earlier this year. My singular motivation in accepting a juror position was to maybe payback a tiny fraction of the immense insight I felt I gained from my many years of following the contest. I feel if I can offer just one person the motivation, inspiration or guidance that I garnered from my years as a viewer and entrant, then it would be worth the time each month I spend trying to offer some helpful feedback. This contest is all about the lessons for me. I'm confident I'm not alone in this position.

    I feel the attacks on Tony are unfair and unfounded. These attacks completely dismiss the possibility that perhaps Tony is just REALLY FRIGGIN' GOOD AT WHAT HE DOES! It makes perfect sense that people who choose to invest time and money in personal coaching with him will improve. With improvement comes recognition. Plus, Tony is one of SEVERAL jurors listed. Mathematically, his voting alone can NOT sway the results. Beyond all that, I've come to know this man personally over the years and the stuff he has been accused of simply isn't in his DNA.

    Yes, there are aspects of the contest that could be improved. It isn't perfect and likely far from it. I'm sure there are many ideas from our members that could make it a more effective vehicle. I also know that Brandon is pro-actively looking for ways to improve it. I would ask "The Whistle Blower" and "Innocent Bystander" to consider offering constructive advice that could potentially help improve the contest, rather than simply complain and accuse anonymously. 

    My biggest fear was, knowing the kind of guy Tony is and how much integrity he has, moving forward he would opt to just remove himself as a juror. It looks like that fear has been realized. But lucky for us all, Tony has committed to keep offering feedback. Whether you completely agree with remarks or not doesn't really matter. The fact he consistently puts so much thought into his critiques is a (free!) gift for the entire community. The contest would be greatly diminished without his involvement. I'm thrilled to see he has figured out a way to stay involved, while removing any implication (albeit unfounded) of impropriety. With the upcoming holiday this week here in the States, I'm reminded of how thankful I am for Tony, and all the jurors over the years, for donating their valuable time and insight each month in the interest of raising the collective bar of our industry. I'm looking forward to the PFRE community coming together to brainstorm positive ways to improve the monthly contest and maintain this precious asset that is truly a gift to us all.
      
    Congrats again, Brian and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the States! 

  12. So….Brian, Congratulation, just sorry you are in the middle of this mudslinging. It is not your fault that there are areas in this “Contest” that need to be worked on.

    Personally, I acted as a judge for a professional photo organization and can attest to the problems that come up with members from time to time. When they did, we addressed them and moved on… Until another issue arose and we dealt with it again. We always published the proposed changes so that the members could vote on them. That was back in the day of film though and things moved much slower. Now we are in a time with instant internet response and changes come faster. Maybe a few surveys could help guide this group. That is what I think needs to happen here.

    I do not think that there is a “conspiracy” or selfish goals by some to create more business for themselves by pumping out “Winners”. And…for the life of me, a group of people that “will do everything they can to destroy your reputation amongst your peers”….REALLY? HOW?

    All that said, I do want to point out that the “Appearance of impropriety” is a real thing and should be thought about. Ethics is something we build our reputations on and we have to foresee how our actions will look.

    To the Whistle Blower and the Innocent Bystander, I wish you had stood up and made your concerns (some of which I thought had merit) in the open, not behind the curtains. I would have respected that more… It takes guts to stand up for what you believe. Try it, you will find you will grow stronger every time.

  13. This thread sums up a lot about our industry. Could the image have been identified by judges as one of Brian's? I am sure it can. If he has any sort of instagram presence, it's safe to say that a contest worthy image would have ended up there. The notion that the industry is in cahoots, let's break it down a bit look for underlying themes and threads:

    1) They all seem to know each other: At the end of the day, this is a small industry. Folks know folks. I am not sure if this raises an alarm for me.
    2) Many of the winners have taken Tony's course. Yes, they have. Those are also people who are investing in themselves. There is not a TON of content out there for a photographer who does what we do and wants to improve what they do, and yes - due to Tony's visibility his content and coaching seems to have become a major and COMMON source in our circles.
    3) 100% illegitimate. You lost me there, blowie. When we use terms like "zero transparency" we lose credibility. Is there truth to bias? only if we're human.
    4) I will give wb (workin on the nickname) credit for calling out that the image may have been overtly promoted. While I have no problem with passive recognition of an image --- ie - the fact that if I took Brian's class I may have recognized the photograph, if it was in fact featured on a recent episode, I could consider that a minor foul.
    5) rules. The rules need work. I get that. The BUSINESS of real estate photography has little or nothing to do with the ART of it, and a rule like "must be part of a live residential listing" precludes up and comers who may not yet have access to the nicest homes from partaking, or even taking the advice of others in how to up their game. Editing may be another one of those rules that precludes as well. This is definitely a good call.
    6) what's the payload? As one who enjoys a good conspiracy, and a person who has spent many a day with the district attorney in Queens county consulting on cases, I have learned to "follow the money" or whatever said payload is. If the effort extended to achieve said goal is not equal to or larger than the payout of said goal, there's a good chance you're following dead leads.

    I do extend "The Whistler" kudos for speaking their mind, and starting this conversation. I would just like to remind you all that what this scene needs is unity above all else, not divisiveness or in-fighting. There are plenty of external factors wishing to commoditize what we do and strip artists of their value, and said external factors have a much easier time doing so when we don't move in step. Take a look around you, and recognize that "joey down the block" as well as "Rando REP Famous dude" share much of the same vision and values.

    Congrats to the winners, and Brian, that is in fact a bad ass image!

    We've got this.

  14. Many congrats Brian!

    Tony - I'm sad to read you've resigned as a juror as I think you've fulfilled the role extremely well, and I always take a keen interest in your feedback.

    Regarding the integrity of the competition - I can't recall there ever being a winner that I thought was controversial. The best images, to my mind, are always there or thereabouts.

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