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Judges comments

I missed last meeting due to an eye operation (yay I can see again) but people must have enjoyed the judges comments because I’ve been asked to add them to the website.

Bruce Shanks was the judge and he’s kindly given permission for his comments to be added.

I found an overall very good standard of images, within this competition.
Some of the things which we don’t stress enough today about images is, does the photographer have a story to tell ?
More often images appear to be an exercise, of trying to emulate a successful type of image that one has seen elsewhere, or searching for a formulae to success, rather than finding a story to advance
.
A lot of great images, are preconceived. i.e. they are thought about, and constructed from a blank canvas ( formerly piece of unexposed film , now free-space on a capture card. Things to consider for a successful image; are good lighting, understanding of depth of field, and composition, and the importance of using the space available, to great advantage.

 

When I learnt to judge, way back in 1959 at Tauranga and District Photographic Society, we judged on a points basis:

30 Points for Conception

Did the photographer have a story to present.

40 points for how the image w
as constructed, put together,(known as composition), consisting of shapes, placement of objects, balance of tones, light and shade, lines of view, darker at the base, lighter at the top etc.

25 points Photographic Technique

mainly over ridden today by the camera manufacturer’s in-camera software

5 points for presentation, mounting, matting, outlining, titling etc.
Of course that was in the days before, light meters, rangefinders, SLRs etc although the TLR (Twin lens Reflex) were fairly common ( Rollei’s etc) did have focus, on a screen, but an inverted image.
A good tip is to flip your image, and view the reversed image often, weaknesses will be seen, in this mirrored image, often it may be a stronger image, but be careful of writing, watches on the wrong wrist, and other, give away factors.
Try always to have a focal point, for the viewers eye to linger on.
Study the guidelines of composition, at the least.

Google “Rule of thirds” , “Golden ratio” or “Golden mean” or Fibonnaci number, spirals, and golden section.

 

Other forms of composition worth study, are balance, S curves, Triangles.

 

We pooh pooh construction of our image to our detriment, and an understanding of the balance and harmony between colours is a useful skill for the exhibition photographer to master.

In the knowledge basket section of the society website is a section on composition which gives guidance to some of the compositional considerations Bruce Shanks talks about.

https://hbps.co.nz/composition/

Welcome to 2017

2017 has started and it’s nice to see another art form occurring around town – namely all the murals being painted for Pangeaseed’s Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans project.

This is the second project in Napier and the murals are pretty cool.

Occasionally people submit photos of others art for judging and often this results in a not achieved, even when the artwork is very beautiful.

The thing to consider when photographing anther’s artwork is how to add value. What difference has your photography added to the original art-work.

It’s your photography skills being judged, not the beauty of the artwork itself.

An example of this would be this image. This was captured at the moment the artist, Faith47, was signing her name after she had completed the mural.

Without the artist and the capture of that unique point in time it simply would have been a photograph of her mural.

So it’s not impossible to include others artwork in your submissions – you just need to consider what part you have played in creating the overall image.

Next years set subjects

Next years set subjects

Thanks for all the suggestions for next year. Certainly more suggestions than months available by a long way.

Final selection is thus:
Jan  – Orange
Feb – Kiwi Summer
March – Repetition
April – Very rural
May – Broken
June – Architecture
July – Weather
August – In the distance
September – Negative space
October – Frozen in time (Fast shutter speed)
Christmas Party – “X”

I’ll add a page to the website with this and meeting dates during the week.

So new members know – you don’t have to take the photo in the month of the competition. You can use both existing photos or take them well in advance.

Some people have been known to do a little chart up and tick them off as suitable opportunities appear.

Judging

Ahhh judging. Like it or love it in any artistic endeavour people will judge your work.

With photography though we actually ask people to do this. So a couple of perspectives from past elders wiser than ourselves.

Perspective 1.

It can be somewhat humbling to have that photograph that you so love put as grist to the mill. But grist to the mill it is.

For those not familiar with the saying grist is the corn that is taken to the mill and turned into flour. And so it is with judging.

You take your photo to the judge who views it from their own perspective and turns it into something else.

What you do with the resulting (flour) is up to you. There’s endless possibilities. You can throw it in the air, or you can bake a cake, you can say I still prefer the corn I bought here originally, you can add some water to it and make a sticky paste.

Whatever you do your photo will never be the same again.

Perspective 2.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. —Matthew 7:1

This is a not well understood quote from Jesus. Taken in isolation it suggests judging is not a good thing and that you should excuse bad photography in others lest you have bad photos of your own.

This lack of understanding is mainly because the context of the next verse is missing.

Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. — Matthew 7:1-2

Now this is a much more positive affirmation of judging that says you must judge with care and diligence but also maintain personal standards.

This I guess is where the judges, whether I like the feedback or not, do a very good job. Their judging is backed up by comments that give you an insight into the standards they are judging on.

So what have I learned from the judging of some of my photos.

1. I have a strong emotional attachment to my own work. This may be because of who is in it, the circumstances in which I took it, the skills I developed in taking it or editing it.

The judges have none of that. The emotion for the judges must come solely from the photo itself.

BTW you can’t separate emotion from decision-making – there’s no such thing as pure objectivity. That’s a topic for another day.

2.  The set subject must be the main subject in the photo.

This I think is a good example of missing this fundamental point. The set subject was white and my photo had lots of white. The judges comment was that “it is not really white.” Told a good story apparently, but not really white.

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Set subject “White”

My initial reaction was “What do you mean it’s not white?”

Took me a while to get over this. Surprisingly it was the same judge’s comment on another entry that made the penny drop.

The judge said that that person had made the effort to create a photo in which the subject was white.

I got it. If I’m going to enter something in the set subject category I need to make sure that the main subject of the photo is the set subject. This gets a little harder when the topic is an adjective, verb or adverb. Much easier to do when it is a noun .

3. Not everyone sees what you see.

I think we all know this deep down. We have a commonality in photography that brings us together but each of us has a uniqueness that allows us to create our own art. The diversity on show in our club is delightful and wonderful and any other superlative you wish to use.

A judge cannot have all of our own unique perspectives. It’s obvious when we look at each others pictures that we as individuals don’t always get someone else’s picture. This one of mine illustrates how you can see something obvious that isn’t so.

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Meat

This to me is so obviously a macro of a mushroom with the photographic title a play on the term “meat of a mushroom”. I’d grown up with this term. Wikipedia confirms it wasn’t just a family tradition.

“Though neither meat nor vegetable, mushrooms are known as the “meat” of the vegetable world.”

So I tick off my checklist:
nice macro – check
Interesting concept – check
clever clogs title – check
All is go.

Judge thought it was a technical demonstration and that the title simply stated what the subject was.

My initial reaction was the  “What do you mean it’s not white?” reaction.

I’ve since talked to several others in the society and few of them could tell what it was either.

I’m not upset at them and I can’t be upset at the judge either. That peer feedback was most useful for me. I learned to get more perspectives and to trust the feedback.

So yeah I’m getting to love the judging cause it gives me opportunities to think about my photography and how I can improve what I present up for judging.

We’ve got good judges and you should read the comments, not only on your own photos but on others as well. Seek peer feedback if you’re still uncertain. Someone else may be able to give you a good steer.

Welcome

Please take some time to have a look around the site.

If you would like more information about the society or are interested in joining, just click on our ‘Contact’ page and send us an email.

We meet on the last Tuesday of each month at the Napier Arts Club Rooms, 122 Vigor Brown St, Napier at 7:00 pm from January to November.

Whether you are wanting to learn how to use your point and shoot camera better; are totally into your craft and want to improve your techniques; or want to enter our monthly competitions, you are most welcome to come along, introduce yourself and see what we get up to.

Welcome to the Hawke’s Bay Photographic Society.

Please take some time to have a look around the site.

If you would like more information about the society or are interested in joining, just click on our ‘Contact’ page and send us an email.

We meet on the last Tuesday of each month at the Napier Arts Club Rooms, 122 Vigor Brown St, Napier at 7:00 pm from January to November.

Whether you are wanting to learn how to use your point and shoot camera better; are totally into your craft and want to improve your techniques; or want to enter our monthly competitions, you are most welcome to come along, introduce yourself and see what we get up to.

Latest news.

Good turnout for the Pandora field trip.

One of us, looking in the mirror here, forgot to check battery charge so only managed to take about 10 photos and missed the sunset.

Stu Hastie has challenged me in pixel wars.

Six subjects are:

Family
Triptych
Out of focus
Double exposure
Music
Old school

I’ve added November and February honours to the website – barring a couple of ones that were judged late.

There’s some pretty cool shots there so have a good look.