"Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes" as a part of the programming celebrating the office of Art in Embassies 50th anniversary has been an amazing journey. After the project submission cut-off date of February 20th, our office found ourselves happily overwhelmed by the quantity and the quality of the images submitted. Over 3,200 images were uploaded to our site art.state.gov, in the first joint Department of State and Department of Defense photo contest and exhibition of its kind.
In April, I had the pleasure of sitting in a dark conference room for eight hours, with some of the most prestigious photographers and photo editors in the business, the project jurors, invited to edit those images in search of the finalists. One of the best comments that day came from internationally renowned New York Times Staff Photographer Joao Silva, who, as the jury members were talking about some of the images, exclaimed that he wished that HE had been the one to take some of those shots. Of the over 3,200 images submitted, and it took a couple of go-rounds, a group of 161 amazing images emerged -- as finalists. At the conclusion of that day, the 161 images were displayed, each single slide on the screen for 3 seconds -- the entire room fell silent as all the finalist images rolled across the screen. After an intense four minutes passed, I felt that everyone in the room was awestruck with the message and power of the photographs. In the end, the jury members -- all experienced in the world of photography -- couldn't express enough what it meant for them to be part of this project and participate as a juror.
Over the next few months, we will be announcing the Best in Show winners, which have been selected. Art in Embassies will also be featuring a gallery of the finalist images soon on our website, as well as the Best in Show images, when they are announced. You can see who was a part of the photography jury here.