Advanced Dancers

Published January 3, 2019
Words by Chloe Coleman, Flash Forward 2018 Juror
Photos by Tori Ferenc, 2018 Flash Forward Winner

The benefits of entering competitions can be beyond the surface. It is a process that can be tedious and ultimately disheartening for many artists, but it is not without its rewards.

Recognition of work, promotion of personal brand, and money to foster projects are all obvious motivations for going through the competition gauntlet. Another possible benefit for young artists and journalists to keep in mind, is the exposure to jurors.

FlashForward 2018 juror list included a wide variety of professionals across the journalism and art worlds. Whether or not a project ends up on the top 100 list, those jurors see the work of every applicant. This can introduce photo editors to photographers they may consider for opportunities in their respective fields. Participating on the jury of FlashForward proved to be source of discovery, and re-discovery, for me for young photographers.

Victor, Edmonton Dance Club, London 2016, from the series Advanced Dancers by Tori Ferenc

One such photographer was Tori Ferenc, a photographer based in London, who had reached out to me years ago when I was still new at The Washington Post. I admired her work but was not yet in a position where I was doing much assigning or commissioning, so the best I could offer was to introduce her to other editors. Seeing her project in FlashForward, dedicated to seniors living in London who go to dance clubs in search for company, refreshed my memory and I added her to name to a list of photographers I would want to work with since starting on the international news desk.

Irene, Edmonton Dance Club, London 2016, from the series Advanced Dancers by Tori Ferenc

Coincidentally, Tori reached back out to the Post and her correspondence was forwarded since Britain is in my area of coverage. This was an extra reminder and a good note for photographers to not be shy to check in with editors. Within days I had an assignment that was a perfect fit for her style (related to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) and have continued working with her regularly since then. She has photographed quintessential and quirky British rituals, made portraits of some of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire and of a British millionaire.

Whether the outcome of entering a contest like FlashFoward is the final prize, or simply getting work in front of the eyes of photography professionals, it can prove worth the time and energy.

Chloe Coleman

Chloe Coleman is an award winning photo editor at The Washington Post, covering international news and Outlook. She is a contributing writer and editor on the Washington Post’s In Sight photo blog where she has written about and featured contemporary photography, photo books and exhibitions. Her career in photo editing began as an intern at NPR, followed by her first staff position as a digital photo editor at The Denver Post. She attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and is a graduate of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Chloe also serves as a faculty member at The Kalish Visual Editing Workshop and was a juror for the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2018.