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Picture This. 

Behind every good photograph is a good vision. And perhaps a fair amount of patience and perseverance. Most likely some imagination and contemplation. Certainly more than a little creativity and dexterity. Inspiration, speed, serendipity, luck. When a photographer summons — or stumbles upon — the right combination of forces, he or she gives the rest of us an opportunity to see something we otherwise wouldn’t. 

More than 1,300 photographers offered their visions — 4,052 of them — during the Iowa State Fair’s 72nd Annual Photography Salon last summer. A mere three judges dedicated their time and expertise to score entries, issue awards, and chose 911 photos for display during the fair. 

Choosing The Iowan’s favorites from the hundreds on display is our annual challenge. As always, we discovered more extraordinary images than we had available magazine pages. You’ll find more state talent showcased here. We made selections without any behind-the-photo information, and, unbeknownst to us, put the work of three young photographers on this issue’s cover, table of contents pages, and page 53 — evidence of the growing participation and flair of the Salon’s Youth Division. 

Entry deadline for the 2012 Iowa State Fair’s 73rd Annual Photography Salon is June 17. This year’s theme is Iowa Churches. Learn more about the competition and exhibit at www.IowaStateFair.org > Competition > Categories > Fine Art & Photography. 

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