-By Justin Gerard

(Coming to you by carrier pigeon from somewhere in the redwood forests of Northern California.)

This past weekend Virginie Ropars, Greg Ruth, Annie Stegg Gerard, Dice Tsutsumi and myself finished judging for Spectrum 22. Now the votes have been cast and the nominees have been picked. Check out the full list here if you haven’t already seen it! We are really proud of these entries and can’t wait to share them with everyone. I can’t speak highly enough of John Fleskes and his staff for their professionalism and care in this project.

Judging for Spectrum 22 was both an incredible honor and a sobering undertaking. Working out who gets a bean and who doesn’t is hard enough, but picking amongst all them which image is the most deserving of the award is downright terrifying.

The entire panel was really concerned about making sure we really had found the best of the best for this year, and we spent nearly as long discussing the nominations as we did voting on the 5,000 entries themselves. No shortcuts were taken. It was a long, glorious slog, full of bitter arguments, soaring defenses, mental jujitsu, harsh language, and I think there was even an actual duel at one point.
There was an enormous volume of talent shown in the entries this year and the competition was fierce. (I seriously don’t think I made it in) The publishing section in particular was astonishingly brutal. It was like gladiatorial combat, only with hand grenades. And with all the contestants thrown into a swimming pool which has been filled with gasoline.

After the battle, we took a stroll into San Fransisco to see the Legion of Honor (and to pass judgement on Bougerous and the other hopefuls there as well.)

I’d like to talk more about why I chose some of the particular pieces as nominees for Spectrum in my next post. I think some of the discussions the judges had were fascinating and would be worth sharing here. (I would share them now but I am currently composing this post on my phone from the top of a tree filled with bats and would be unequal to the task just now.)