In the newspaper biz, photographs serve a utilitarian purpose far too often. The head shot of the six-term state senator with a penchant for racist remarks. The crowd shot of a big ol’ St. Paddy’s Day blowout, complete with green beer and even greener faces. The press photo of a bluegrass-reggae-funk-jazz jam band named after some random phrase the drummer — you know, the one without the dreads — came up with one night while hitting the gravity bong. Sometimes, however, we get to run photos just because we like them. And in the case of this year’s winners in the Charleston City Paper Photography Contest, we like them a lot. Over 340 works were submitted, and our judges picked the photos based solely on each picture’s merits, without any knowledge of who shot what. And quite frankly, we’re pleased with the results. We hope you will be too.

The Judges

Kaitlyn Iserman started out photographing weddings to put herself through college. She now works consistently for the City Paper and Charleston magazine. People have always been her favorite subjects, although she does enjoy shooting food. Her work can be seen at, and she can often be found drinking coffee at Alchemy.

Photographer Ben Williams arrived in Charleston just under two years ago and quickly made a name for himself. Since settling in the Holy City, Williams has been busy shooting for the City Paper and Charleston magazine. When he’s not working behind the lens, Williams can be found relaxing at City Lights Coffee on Market Street or cruising around town on his bike.

Stacy Pearsall served as an Air Force photojournalist for nearly 11 years. She is one of only two women to win the Military Photographer of the Year Competition, and the only woman to have won it twice. Her work has been published in various media, including Time, The New York Times, CNN, BBC, USA Today, Soldier of Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and many more. Currently, Stacy is photographing assignments around the world and directing the Charleston Center for Photography.

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