Judges Blog… 3
I was recently asked to stand in to judge a PDI competition for a club that I had not previously visited. The conversation went along the lines of
Sorry to bother you at such short notice, however we have a competition coming up and the judge who we booked last year has recently contacted us apologising that unfortunately he had been shortlisted to take part in training to become an astronaut!
There was a long pause after this whilst I took in what I had just heard……
This leaves us in a bit of a predicament .
Can you please, please help, we have tried several others to no avail
What could I say?
An e-mail pinged into my computer confirming the details a couple of mins later. Be at the hall by 7:45, marks out of 20, coffee at half time, etc. Oh, I forgot to mention that it’s a set subject competition – architecture.
Now I’m pretty worldly wise and can normally tell the difference between a Classical Italian style of Late Renaissance and Early Baroque chapel and a 1953 prefab however, what was concerning me was what sort of competition this actually was going to be.
There is an absolute, undeniable fact that the roof of the Sistine chapel painted by Michelangelo is a magnificent and unique piece of work. It has been viewed personally by hundreds of thousands of people who have marvelled at the skill and craftsmanship in its creation. Furthermore it has been photographed and reproduced by hundreds of thousands of people who have in turn, exposed this spectacle to millions more.
8:01 “OK let’s get this competition underway”. Out of the dark the first image explodes onto the screen and the title breaks the silence… “Heavenly Ceiling”. An audible intake of breath fills the room at the magnificence of Mitch’s handiwork.
No matter how many images we capture as photographers we do it for very specific reasons. These have remained unchanged since photography first began they are to capture memories, capture special/unique moments, to tell stories, to help communicate or illustrate feelings to others. To the author of the “Heavenly Ceiling” this is exactly why they took this image. But hang on this is a competition you are judging.
The term ‘Record Shot’ is one I dislike intently however, in many many cases this is exactly what is being presented for competition. Photographers continue to offer up excellent images of stately homes, churches, castles, and yes they are beautiful in their own right but, these shots can be replicated time and time again.
It is really difficult to decide. What am I looking at? Whose work am I appraising? Is it the craft of the painter, stonemason, architect, sculptor or is it that of the individual that has replicated this as an illustration to others. What is the purpose of this image? What makes this something other than a vehicle to showcase the architects work? Whose is this again?…
I believe that Judges are now looking for different interpretations, added value, uniqueness, technical competence yes, but with something that sets this apart, something out of this world… hang on a mo, why was he doing that training course again?
I love being a judge….till next time.
Thoughts of a judge
Alan Taberer IMAGEZ