It's a bit odd suggesting that these are entries under this categories seeing as I only thought up the idea of judging by category after the contest closed. And I am still not sure if I am going to award prizes entirely based on the categories. Maybe I should do a draw - why not? Well, one reason might be that these categories have no integrity. I know that. I would recommend that you always doubt the integrity of any system that is being described by someone who has not put his reading glasses on as he types. Like me. Right now.
So what do I mean by beer and place. Look at the comment received from Lars in Norway in response to his photo winning for beer portraiture. I suggested that I had an emotional response to the photo and he told the back story of why that might be the case. For me, the difference between beer portraiture and beer and place is that the second expressly gives the context. Let's see if that makes any frikking sense whatsoever by looking at these entries:
That's a lot of context. You will see some repeats in this category, some snow and some portraiture. These things happen. I have to consider these for a bit. You should, too. I also have to go find my glasses to have a proper look.
Later: OK, a couple of hours have passed and Lars has commented on the pub scene submitted by Robert Gale of Wales, second row centre-left. Here are the notes he sent along with that photo:
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a very well known pub located on Fleet Street, London. The pub was originally built in 1538, destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt in 1667. The pub is a maze of rooms and bars and the cellar is believed to have belonged to a 13th century Carmelite Monastery which once occupied the site. The pub is dimly lit which makes taking photos without a tripod very difficult hence using an ISO of 3200.
I dimly recall being taken to this bar in 1986. How wonderful it would be to be able to pop into a place like that regularly. I also wish I had access to the pub directly below, taken by Mike Lang of Dayton, Ohio. A different sort of British pub. Mike called the photo "Inside the Volunteer" and here are his notes: "My back is against the front wall here. Great place for a pint and great people to converse with. On the right is one of two guys who spend their Friday's busing around the island enjoying Real Ale. My kind of fun!" These comments both speak to the importance we place on pubs. Years back, a pal called them his church and we understand why. Fifth row down, to the left we have a hops display in a church.
The places don't need to be sacred. Top middle we have the exuberance of a beer festival while two photos to its right we have a parade of elephants. We dip into an Icelandic hot spring third row, right. A brewer takes a break fourth row, centre-right. I love the shot third row middle that captures a cyclists PBR tattoo. Third row left, hops are drying. Fourth row middle, beer is fermenting. All so good.
Later still: I better make some decisions. It is tough because I would place these 30 photos up there with the best of the maybe 1,000 or more that have been submitted over the five years of this contest. Frankly, if there were one of you that thought on a hot August day in Prague or San Diago something to the effect of "hey, that would make a great submission for this year's Yuletide photo contest at A Good Beer Blog," well, that would be weird but a good weird. So my pick? Second row, centre. Why? I imagine myself walking in a rat's warren of an British Pub past many small rooms to come upon this scene. I say "sorry to interrupt" to which the man in the corner replies "no problem - I was just leaving" so that I could replace him in that spot and be the man having the perfect beer in the perfect room by myself for a few quiet moments. Photographer Robert Gale tells us: "a lone drinker on a quiet Monday evening at the Murenger pub in Newport, South Wales. The pub is very dark so I had to set the camera to 3200 ISO." Lovely.