Free speech is the new black


For this year’s photo contest, we called for local people, places and things. We got a lot of places, a solid pile of things—and not many people. Of the people we did get, an overwhelming portion were children, and while children have faired well in past contests (see winners for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), our judges this year didn’t think the kids were alright.

“It’s rather cheap, bumming a ride on a kid,” one judge muttered as scads of smiling children flew towards the discard stack. Fair warning, photographers of Charlottesville, for next year’s contest.

Though this marks the first contest-winning entry without a person, it’s the second time the top-prize photo has captured the Free Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall. Congratulations to our winners and all those honorably mentioned. Many thanks to everyone else who submitted photos.


Meet the judges

Elizabeth Birdsall has been an avid photographic looker, thinker and collector since her undergraduate years (Bard College, 1992). Since then, she has studied, taught and published on the history and criticism of fine art photography. She received her M.A. in Art History from UVA in 2002 and lives with her family in Albemarle County.

Bruce Boucher has directed the UVA Art Museum since 2009. A Rhodes Scholar and expert on 16th-century Italian architecture, he previously worked as European sculpture curator for the Art Institute of Chicago. For 24 years prior to that, he taught art history at University College London.

Ian Nichols is a wildlife photographer and UVA graduate who lives in Crozet. Assignments have taken him to Gabon and the Congo to document great apes. In his own photography, he strives “to capture authentic moments that inspire awareness in others and foster positive change in our world.”


First Place


“Free Speech—a light in the darkness,”
by O.T. Holen


Second Place
“Baskets with fruits and vegetables,” by Dane Ainsworth
Third Place
"July 3, 2011—Lindsay & Will" by Jen Fariello

Honorable mentions (in no particular order)

Untitled, Ellen Picker
"Scrap Yard," by Stacey Evans
"Around the bend," by James C. (Charlie) Tucei
Untitled, Stacey Gill Jacobs
"Addie," by Sarah Cramer Shields