When we announced the 1977 Texas Monthly Photography Contest, we hardly expected what we got: over a thousand entries in every common photographic medium (color prints, color slides, black-and-white prints) using every camera format from the lowly Instamatic to the mighty Linhof, and representing every level of expertise from rank amateur to seasoned professional. A deluge of envelopes and craftily wrapped cardboard boxes, a veritable sea of of submissions flowed through our office door, right down to the last minute of the last day. Who would ever have thought there could exist so many pictures of bluebonnets, children, sunsets, oil derricks, and cowboy boots? Certainly not us.

Our contest judges, Texas photographers Ron Scott and Geoff Winningham, were unperturbed by it all. They methodically reduced the 1190 entries to scores and then to a dozen that were considered worthy of the winner’s circle.

What follows are nine honorable mentions, one third-place winner, and a tie for first (no second place named). Why these particular pictures, you ask? In the captions, we let the judges speak for themselves.

Judges Geoff Winningham (left) and Ron Scott
Judges Geoff Winningham (left) and Ron Scott

Dennis Meyler


FIRST PLACE

Paul Hester, Houston "This photograph has everything. It seems to be as rich and dense with experience as a Dostoevsky novel, yet it's as simple and perfect as a haiku. The gesture of the seated man to the barber indicates a very poignant relationship. The photographer's approach is as gentle and profound as the man's touch."
Paul Hester, Houston
“This photograph has everything. It seems to be as rich and dense with experience as a Dostoevsky novel, yet it’s as simple and perfect as a haiku. The gesture of the seated man to the barber indicates a very poignant relationship. The photographer’s approach is as gentle and profound as the man’s touch.”

María H. Sandoval, San Antonio "The appeal is in the lines of the foreground subjects, the way each woman has her hips and feet in a different position, and the shapes of the hats. The color quality is excellent, too."
María H. Sandoval, San Antonio
“The appeal is in the lines of the foreground subjects, the way each woman has her hips and feet in a different position, and the shapes of the hats. The color quality is excellent, too.”

THIRD PLACE

Mitch Mayborn, Dallas "As a snapshot, this is perfect. It has beautiful light, handsome color qualities, and no pretense whatsoever. It was obviously made with much love for the subject—the photographer's son."
Mitch Mayborn, Dallas
“As a snapshot, this is perfect. It has beautiful light, handsome color qualities, and no pretense whatsoever. It was obviously made with much love for the subject—the photographer’s son.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Mount P. Buckner, Austin "This one works primarily because of the wonderful color. It gives the feeling that time was standing still at the moment the picture was taken."
Mount P. Buckner, Austin
“This one works primarily because of the wonderful color. It gives the feeling that time was standing still at the moment the picture was taken.”

Mrs. H. K. Gamel, Harper "Although this is obviously a snapshot, it is stunning in its color patterns and contrasts. This is the most original photograph submitted."
Mrs. H. K. Gamel, Harper
“Although this is obviously a snapshot, it is stunning in its color patterns and contrasts. This is the most original photograph submitted.”

Kent McGaughey, Houston "Certain subjects, like this double rainbow, have an instinctive appeal. The colors and textures are wonderful, as is the composition. The photographer treated the subject simply and well."
Kent McGaughey, Houston
“Certain subjects, like this double rainbow, have an instinctive appeal. The colors and textures are wonderful, as is the composition. The photographer treated the subject simply and well.”

Celeste Meeker, Houston "This photographer has taken a very interesting self-portrait. The centered composition and the way the figure works into the design of the truck is effective. It's a good example of using the photograph from edge to edge.
Celeste Meeker, Houston
“This photographer has taken a very interesting self-portrait. The centered composition and the way the figure works into the design of the truck is effective. It’s a good example of using the photograph from edge to edge.”

Janice Rubin, Houston "It's interesting to look around within this unusual and slightly terrifying photograph and see the other things going on, such as the couple talking outside and the man emerging from the phone booth."
Janice Rubin, Houston
“It’s interesting to look around within this unusual and slightly terrifying photograph and see the other things going on, such as the couple talking outside and the man emerging from the phone booth.”

Paul Hester, Houston "The photographer certainly came across an unusual event. It asks some interesting questions and shown an intelligent curiosity."
Paul Hester, Houston
“The photographer certainly came across an unusual event. It asks some interesting questions and shown an intelligent curiosity.”

Steve Ornish, Austin "Although this is rather obvious subject matter, it is well captured in an unusual and provocative situation."
Steve Ornish, Austin
“Although this is rather obvious subject matter, it is well captured in an unusual and provocative situation.”

Ave Bonar, Austin "The differing reactions of the two subjects to the camera are fascinating. This portrait is psychologically powerful."
Ave Bonar, Austin
“The differing reactions of the two subjects to the camera are fascinating. This portrait is psychologically powerful.”

Jeffrey De Bevee, Houston "Simplicity is the virtue of this beautifully rendered landscape, and the print quality is excellent."
Jeffrey De Bevee, Houston
“Simplicity is the virtue of this beautifully rendered landscape, and the print quality is excellent.”