I am always perplexed by photo editors' choices when judging photo contests like the one by the National Geographic's Traveler magazine. It appears that some 15,000 entries were received by the judges, out of which only 10 made the cut. Frankly, the results of the 2006 photo contest don't impress me at all, except for Anna Rhee's entry (#3) of an image made on the island of Santorini. To me, it captures the essence of Greek male identity. It's a good picture, but is it good enough to be a prize winner? I don't think so.
I suspect that many serious photographers are put off from participating (real professionals are not allowed to enter) because of the National Geographic's terms and conditions. To win provides good publicity and is a nice add-on to the resume, but not much else. Sour grapes? Maybe.
National Geographic's Traveler 2006 Photo Contest Winners