My thoughts and observations of Challenge #4

As usual, it was a delight to see the contestants express themselves mentally and visually for their challenge.  This time around I took a different approached and looked at the photos first and read the submissions after wards.  Here is what I observed.



Valaira’s images were most dynamic.  It seemed that her approach to here photo were well thought out.  It look like a considerable amount of time and effort was put into what she presented.   It was very compelling that each of her images looked totally different, shot in a different locale with a different look and energy.  The images were striking and memorable.

Valaira’s story of seeking her inner truth from with-in was an open and genuine  sharing and I found her perspective unique to the group.


Chistina’s photos expressed color, joy and exuberance.  The smile was ever present even when it wasn’t on her lips but came from her spirit and her eyes.   Her play with color was delightful.

When first looking at Christina’s images the thing that stood out for me was the shine in the fabrics used for her head-ties.  She then tied in this same concept when she explained her choice of cloth, her eyes telling her story, her goals and the tools she uses to express herself.  Her story and her photo were complimentary.



My favorite photo of Safeeya was the one with the leopard head tie.  It image set a mood and reminded me of Josephine Baker.

Safeeya’s story hit on a universal truth about the power of a smile, the gift of a smile and how it can relax one and others and how it can open doors.  I love how she uses her inner and outer smile to carry her through her day and how in anchors her when she’s facing challenging or  unfamiliar circumstances.


Janeria’s images did not offer enough diversity, they were the same looks but with different poses.

Janeria’s story of how she unfolds during the shooting process was insightful. It’s wonderful to hear a story of a young model so self possessed and grounded in her own truth.



Toshia has an undeniable beaut.  She would look good in anything.  However, this challenge was to use hats and scarves and I did not see the creativity here in these images.  They seem to all have the same head wrap used in the same way in each image.  There were no images with hats on and so for me the photos didn’t make the mark.

Toshia’s painted us a lovely picture with her descriptive narrative on the environment where she was shooting.   This I enjoyed as well as her story about being a natural woman.



Lenore’s images were very dark, the pictures were sharp and there wasn’t enough diversity.  It seemed as though very little time, energy and thought went into the photos submitted.

Lenora has a lot of spunk, confidence and energy in her written piece.  It’s written from a place of self assurance and willingness to play and be creative.  I just wish her pics had reflected her story.



Karla’s images didn’t show enough changes.  I know that Karla can bring it, so I was expecting much more in terms of creativity.

In today’s fast past world, one needs to be succinct when they can be and I feel Karla’s story was just too long.  Links to common words was puzzling, and the overall tone of the story had pedantic feeling to it.



Teesha’s last photo of the scarves hanging from above caught my attention and held it.  I looked at that photo long than I did the others.  I loved how she seemed to be just be a part of the scene almost like a manniquin, very nice.

Teesha’s insight into how creative endeavors are interchangeable and reflective of the universal source was unique.  I enjoyed her humor and her seemingly joyous expression writing this piece to win.


Disclaimer:  And I mean this, what I say is not the  “Truth”.  It is just my opinion.  As a judge, it is not my intention to do anything other than inspire each contestant to present what reflects her very best.  That said my choices are as follows:

For Challenge #4 I choose:

For best photos – Valaira Sa-Ra Smith

For best story  – Teesha Borum



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