The jury's comment 2011

By Markus Botzek (for the jury)

At Haus Sonnenwinkel on the tranquil slopes of the Teutoburg Forest, a jury met for the fourth time to select a winner from the many entries for the Fritz Pölking Prize. On the one hand, as a juror, you are always excited to see what you will get to see, but on the other hand, you have to retreat into a darkened room for a whole day while the sun shines outside and the butterflies flutter across the meadows. How much one would like to grab the camera oneself.

However, the submitted works of the nature photography colleagues were quite capable of making you forget the butterflies and your own camera in no time. A multitude of wonderful nature photos kept the jury busy and led to amazement, surprise and sometimes even amusement. After emotional discussions, a handful of works were quickly identified to decide the race among themselves. But a lot of time passed before the final result was reached, and the arguments went back and forth, sometimes in favor of this portfolio, sometimes in favor of that series. What was striking this time was that the portfolios managed to hold their own against the stories for a long time. In the end, however, Klaus Echle's story prevailed, as it best combined different photographic techniques with a good eye for the right moment and a common thread.

On the whole, the young photographers were almost a bit more "peppy". Almost more lively was the haggling of the jury among themselves about the respective favorites, triggered by the sometimes courageous and lively picture language of the authors. The fact that not everything had always been perfectly realized is both logical and highly gratifying. After all, mistakes are only made by those who dare to try something new and leave standards behind, by those who dare to learn something new. Thus, all the submitted works, even those that did not make it to the winners' podium, are to be understood as steps in the right direction. The series and portfolios from which the jury ultimately chose the winner all showed an eye for the special in the everyday, succeeded in eliciting charm from the supposedly unspectacular and presenting it in pictures. The high level at which some of today's up-and-coming photographers already find themselves does not make one fear for the future of nature photography.

The portfolio of Radomir Jakubowski was a bit more mature than the entries of the competitors. Picture language, light guidance and technology - here simply everything was correct. The qualitative density of the submitted works gives hope for a lot when the cards are reshuffled next year.