IT’S A NICE problem to have, I guess: too many great photos.

Late each fall, Seattle Times Picture Editor Fred Nelson toils over what he says is the hardest, and most rewarding, photo edit of his year: selecting staff photos for our annual Pictures of the Year issue.

I usually start asking in October, walking by Fred’s desk and saying something like, “Almost POY time.”

Fred slumps his shoulders and buries his head in his hands.

Early-November: “Hey Fred, how’s POY coming along?” I enjoy asking this when he seems particularly busy. Fred assures me he has put out the call to our outrageously talented photo staff, and that great pictures are stacking up. He’ll get to them soon.

Late-November: “Fred, we really need POY.” Fred tells me to come by his desk later that afternoon, and to bring David Miller, Pacific NW magazine’s art director. Says he’s got something to show us.


Here, he never disappoints. Fred has organized the photos into a series of spreads, with great thought put into the pairings on pages, and the order and flow of the photos in the magazine.

Our photographers send captions for the photos; those are edited by Sandy Deneau Dunham, PNW’s associate editor, and me; Miller applies a little design magic, and look — it’s another Pictures of the Year issue.

As always, it’s packed with beautiful, storytelling photos. There are more online. If you’re interested in hearing how our photographers do it, and seeing even more of their best work, please join us for a free public event at the Seattle Central Library at 7 p.m. Jan. 30.

Our annual Pictures of the Year presentation will feature our most memorable photos and videos of 2019, and the stories behind them, in the words of our own photographers, videographers and editors.