New Juror Profiles

Each year, we put together a dream team of 200 jurors for Critical Mass. It’s a fantastic group of museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, and media producers – the tastemakers in the world of photography today. Since there are a lot of new faces on the Critical Mass team this year, we thought we’d take a moment to make some introductions.

Special Note: There’s still time to enter Critical Mass. All the details are right here.

Need some extra encouragement? Take a look at the heartening success stories. And check out the full list of 200 jurors.

Judy Walgren

Judy Walgren is the Editorial Director for ViewFind, a robust visual storytelling platform. Previously, she was the Director of Photography at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she managed a staff of visual content producers, photo editors, and pre-press imagers for print and digital platforms. She has also worked for the Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, and the Dallas Morning News. Walgren received a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting with a team from the Morning New for their series dealing with violent human rights against women. She received her Masters in Fine Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2016. Walgren lives in San Francisco.

Thom Sempere

Thom Sempere has been actively involved in the photography community since 1977 as an artist, educator, curator and arts administrator. Since 2005 he has been the Executive Director of PhotoAlliance, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit dedicated to supporting contemporary photography. He has taught studio practice and photography history at San Francisco Art Institute, Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program, University of California Berkeley, and San Jose City College. His work in curatorial and arts administration began in 1983 in Seattle, as curator of the Joseph and Elaine Monsen Collection of Photography, and later as Director of Education and Exhibitions at Photographic Center Northwest. Subsequently, he worked ten years at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He received his undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Michigan, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. His photographs are in the permanent collection at SFMOMA and have been exhibited in venues across the United States as well as in China.

Dustin Drankoski

Dustin Drankoski is the Photo Director at Mashable. After getting his start as a photo editor at The Wall Street Journal, he moved to digital news. At Mashable he launched and continues to lead a team focused on creating visual stories that focus on photographers’ experiences. The photo team has won numerous awards for their work, including the first digital-only publication to win in POYi’s magazine editing portfolio category.

Theresa Bembnister

Theresa Bembnister is Associate Curator at the Akron Art Museum. She received her M.A. in art history and museum studies from Case Western Reserve University and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her writing has appeared in Cleveland’s Scene, Kansas City’s Pitch, the Kansas City Star, Glasstire, and Art Practical.

James Barker

James Barkerhas been involved in photography in one way or another for almost 50 years. He studied fine art and photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York in its early days, and has done all manner of editorial and commercial photography, both in and out of the studio. He is the director of PhotoPlaceGallery in Middlebury, Vermont.