Final Statements -- Awards Are Flying
How to capture the moment of peak action in a photo? SF State student Justin Maxon took this image in Ejido Hermosillo, Mexico, to show some young pupils a few tips. Teaching the workshop, which aimed to inspire and empower underprivileged children, was a rewarding experience for Maxon—personally as well as professionally. Late last year, images from the trip, including the above photo, earned him second place in the National Press Photographer Association's (NPPA) College Photographer of the Year contest.
Maxon is one of many SF State photojournalists who continue to receive high-profile awards for their work. Michael Mullady won first prize in the same NPPA contest and was also named the 2008 White House News Photographers Association Student Photographer of the Year for hard- hitting photo stories, including one on rampant lead poisoning among children in a small town in Peru. Mullady, Maxon and fellow SF State students Brian Frank and Justin Mott also won 11 honors in the University of Missouri's International College Photographer of the Year Awards contest.
Maxon's other recent honors include first place in a monthly photojournalism competition of the Hearst Journalism Awards program, best student portfolio in the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar's annual competition and another first for News Photography in a Student Photographer of the Year contest sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association.
His proudest moment came in March when he won first prize in the World Press Photo contest. "[It's] one of the most prestigious awards offered on this planet for professional photographers. Somehow, I really don't know how, but I recently won one of the categories," he says, referring to his winning image of a young boy and hismother, both homeless, bathing in a river in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Maxon has always enjoyed photography but says he is hooked on photojournalism in particular because it provides the opportunity "to affect change and possibly make the world a better, more honest place."